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  • BBC and Discovery Strike Olympic Broadcast Deal


    (ATR) Fears the BBC might lose the rights to broadcast the 2022 and 2024 Olympics free-to-air have been banished after the U.K. broadcaster inks a deal with Discovery Communications.

    The BBC will keep its broadcast coverage of the 2022 and 2024 Games. (Getty)
    Already with the rights for Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018 and Tokyo 2020, the sub-licensing deal means the BBC is also home to the Beijing Winter Olympics and the 2024 Summer Games.

    Under the agreement, the BBC gets exclusive free-to-air audio-visual and non-exclusive radio rights. In return, Discovery will sub-license from the BBC exclusive pay-TV rights in the U.K. to the 2018 and 2020 Olympics.

    For the BBC, the Olympics is one of the most highly valued sporting events. More than 50 million people in the U.K. watched coverage of the London 2012 Olympics on the BBC. Seven million people in Britain accessed the BBC website every day, with 111 million requests for video throughout the Games.

    “This is an extensive package of rights that ensures we can offer ‘the best of the Games’, across TV, radio, online and digital, maximizing the reach and impact of the BBC,” said Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport.

    “This ground-breaking partnership also shows how the BBC can collaborate and work with others to continue to bring the very best in sport to license fee payers.”

    Timo Lumme, managing director of IOC TV and marketing services, said the deal was “great news for viewers in the U.K.”

    “By sharing the rights, viewers will benefit from the BBC’s rich Olympic heritage and Discovery’s innovative approach to storytelling. Together, they will make the Olympic Games as accessible and engaging as possible,” he said.

    Tuesday’s announcement marks the first Olympic Games sub-licensing deal by Discovery since the IOC awarded broadcast rights in Europe to the company and Eurosport through the 2024 Olympics. The deal unveiled last June was worth $1.4 billion.

    David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery, said the agreement was 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,” he said. “Now we join together once again to bring the most compelling stories of human ambition, sacrifice and achievement to people across the U.K.”

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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