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  • Golden 25 - #12 - Olympic Broadcasting Enters New Era


    (ATR) Two weeks every two years is not enough for the Olympic Games. The launch of the Olympic Channel is among the changes sweeping through the way the Olympics are delivered to the world. With the proliferation of platforms to view the Olympics, free to air broadcast is no longer the only game in town. Olympic rights packages have grown more complex with digital platforms taking the place of the traditional broadcast.

    The creation of the channel and its steadfast move into the international sporting market have been orchestrated by Olympic Broadcasting Services chief Yiannis Exarchos and Olympic Channel general manager Mark Parkman. 
    Yiannis Exarchos (ATR)

    As 2016 progressed, the Olympic Channel quickly expanded its portfolio to include live coverage of international federation events and championships. The biggest deal of the year was made with FIFA while talks are still in progress with the IAAF.

    NBC and the U.S. Olympic Committee are diving into the Olympic Channel concept, ready to launch the first national version in 2017. If the U.S. channel proves a success it could pave the way for rightsholders from other countries to follow suit.

    The involvement of NBC and its Olympics chief Gary Zenkel and executive producer Jim Bell will be guiding this project forward.

    USOC chairman and IOC member Larry Probst is also watching this development closely as chairman of the IOC commission on the Olympic Channel.

    IOC television
    Gary Zenkel, Vladimir Putin and Larry Probst in Sochi during the 2014 Olympics. (Getty Images)
    and marketing services Managing Director Timo Lumme is handling the shifting landscape from the IOC headquarters.

    A trio of IOC members assist with the sales of broadcast rights on a continental basis. Argentina's Gerardo Werthein handles the Americas, Juan Antonio Samaranch from Spain  is responsible for Europe and Zaiqing Yu from China works in Asia along with agency Dentsu.

    A tricky situation moving forward will be how the IOC and Eurosport navigate the new deal signed for the 2018-2024 cycle. Eurosport's parent company Discovery says it will sub-license the rights to markets across Europe. Last year, Discovery and the BBC agreed to a sub-licensing deal to keep the Games on the United Kingdom's flagship free-to-air station.

    However, in Germany, traditional free-to-air channels ARD and ZDF lost the rights to the Games through 2024 after Discovery sub-licensed the rights to Eurosport. Could shakeups be coming in other countries?

    Written by Kevin Nutley and Aaron Bauer

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