As part of its commitment to ensure that the Olympics remains accessible to as wide an audience as possible across Europe, Discovery Communications has entered a long-term partnership making the BBC the exclusive free-to-air broadcaster in the UK for the next five Games. The agreement will see the British broadcaster sub-license exclusive free-to-air audio-visual and non-exclusive radio rights to the 2022 and 2024 Olympic Games. In turn, Discovery will sub-license from the BBC the exclusive pay-TV rights in the UK to the 2018 and 2020 Games. Additionally, the BBC’s package is supplemented by digital rights to the content it airs on TV.
In a landmark deal announced last June by Discovery and the International Olympic Committee, the Discovery Channel and Eurosport were awarded all TV and multi-platform rights in Europe to the winter and summer games for 2018–2024. That includes exclusive multimedia rights for 50 countries and territories in Europe. The rights for the UK were included for only 2022 and 2024 as the BBC had previously secured the earlier events.
The BBC deal is the first Olympics sub-licensing agreement made by Discovery with more expected to follow.
BBC Director General Tony Hall says, “The BBC prides itself on bringing the biggest sporting moments to the public. For many, the BBC has been their stadium for Olympic coverage. It is an event that unites the nation like no other. I’m delighted that through our new partnership with Discovery, the BBC will continue to carry the torch for great sporting coverage right through to the 2024 Games.”
Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav adds, “Discovery is a passionate and committed partner of the Olympic Movement. Today’s agreement is a win for UK sports fans and marks an exciting new chapter in Discovery and the BBC’s partnership on major sporting events. For 30 years, our two organizations have chartered new frontiers with co-production partnerships in factual and natural history programming. Now we join together once again to bring the most compelling stories of human ambition, sacrifice and achievement to people across the UK.”