(ATR) Pay-TV broadcaster JTBC has secured media rights for North and South Korea for the Olympics from 2026 to 2032.
JTBC chief Hong Jeongdo and Thomas Bach at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne (IOC)
The IOC announced the deal Tuesday at a signing ceremony attended by president Thomas Bach and JTBC chief Hong Jeongdo at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
The agreement ends the grip on Olympic media rights of the ‘Korea Pool’, the group of terrestrial networks comprising SBS, MBC and KBS.
SBS currently holds the Olympic broadcast rights from 2018 through the Paris 2024 Games, with JTBC set to take over for the 2026 Winter Games host, an IOC choice between Stockholm and Milan-Cortina on June 24.
Los Angeles hosts the 2028 Summer Olympics.
North and South Korean NOCs and their government have held discussions with the IOC in recent months about tabling a joint bid for the 2032 Summer Games.
The IOC said JTBC had won the media rights following a competitive tender process.
For the 2026 to 2032 Games, JTBC has committed to providing broad coverage across its linear, digital and social media platforms.
The agreement includes guarantees that at least 200 hours of Summer Olympic coverage and 100 hours of Winter Games coverage will be broadcast on national TV channels.
Explaining why the IOC chose JTBC over SBS and other bidders, Bach said: “Following the success of the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang last year, we have had unprecedented interest from media organisations in Korea.
“JTBC provided an innovative broadcast plan, and demonstrated a clear passion for the Olympic values and a commitment to promoting the Olympic Games across the Korean peninsula.”
In February, the IOC welcomed plans for a joint Korean bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics following meetings with sports leaders and government ministers from North and South Korea in the Olympic capital.
North and South Korea have also told the IOC they want to field unified teams in four sports at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The proposal comes a year after athletes from the two Koreas marched under a united flag at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, and following the success of the unified women's ice hockey team at the Games.
The media rights deal also includes all Youth Olympic Games editions in the period.
Jeongdo said JTBC was looking forward “to greatly enhance current Olympic content and coverage and to be relevant to the all-important youth audience at all times.
“We aim to ensure the widest possible audience and extensively broaden coverage for all sports. We fully share the IOC’s desire to build direct and ongoing relationships with fans in local markets.”
Reported by Mark Bisson
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