In a landmark deal, the Discovery Channel and Eurosport have been awarded all TV and multi-platform rights in Europe for the Olympic Games — both winter and summer — for 2018–2024. In a deal believed to be worth $1.45 billion, Discovery announced it will become the sole rights-holder for the Games over the period. This marks the first time the Olympics have been awarded to a single broadcaster in a continent-wide deal. Traditionally, individual broadcasters in each country bid and acquire the rights to the sports extravaganza. Discovery said the deal marks the first time the International Olympic Committee has sold all the European rights to a single media company.
By Discovery’s assertion the deal will give access to over 700 million people across Europe. Discovery will still commit to distributing a minimum of 200 hours of summer games and 100 hours of winter games coverage for free-to-air European TV. That is a stipulation of both Olympic and several local regulations. That means Discovery will have to sub-license some rights in certain markets across the continent. In the UK, for example, the Olympics are part of the government-enshrined “Crown Jewels” of sports events that must be free-to-air, including the soccer World Cup.
The coverage deal excludes the Russian Federation and does not cover the 2018 and 2020 Olympic games for France and the UK which have already been sold to France Televisions and the BBC, respectively.