Discovery takes European Olympic rights in €1.3 billion deal

Eurosport parent company acquires rights to four Games from 2018 to 2024.

Discovery takes European Olympic rights in €1.3 billion deal

Eurosport parent company Discovery Communications has signed a €1.3 billion (US$1.45 billion) media rights deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The deal is the largest sports rights agreement Discovery has signed since its takeover of pan-European broadcaster Eurosport last year.

The agreement covers all TV and digital platform media rights in Europe to the four Olympic Games between 2018 and 2024.

The 2018 Winter Olympics are set to take place in PyeongChang, South Korea, while the 2020 Summer Olympics will take place in the Japanese capital of Tokyo. The 2022 and 2024 Games have yet to be awarded.

The deal covers 50 European territories - all of Europe except Russia - but rights for France and the UK will only kick in from the 2022 Games.

France Televisions already has a deal with the IOC for the 2018 and 2020 Games, while the BBC has the rights to the same events in the UK.

The deal includes a guarantee from Discovery that extensive free-to-air coverage will be made available in every European territory. In line with the IOC's requirements, Discovery will ensure that a minimum of 200 hours of summer Olympic Games coverage is broadcast free-to-air, and 100 hours of winter Olympic Games coverage.

Discovery intends to sub-license rights in certain territories in order to fulfil those obligations.

The agreement also includes a commitment from Discovery and Eurosport to develop the IOC's new Olympic Channel across Europe.

Discovery and Eurosport will also be granted access to the IOC's extensive television archive.

“Today is a historic day as we proudly add the Olympic rings to Discovery Communications’ portfolio of offerings,” said Discovery Communications president David Zaslav. "The long-term programming commitment with president [Thomas] Bach and the IOC reaffirms Eurosport’s position as the leader in sports across Europe, and will significantly enhance Eurosport's presence on all platforms.

“With Eurosport’s proud and long-standing tradition of broadcasting many winter and summer sports showcased during the Olympics, adding the Olympic Games, the greatest live event in the world, is a perfect editorial and strategic fit. But most of all, this new partnership is an exciting win for European sports fans as we will deliver record amounts of content across platforms to ensure the Olympic flame burns bright all year long.”

IOC president Thomas Bach said, “This agreement ensures comprehensive coverage of the Olympic Games across Europe, including the guarantee to provide extensive free-to-air television coverage in all territories. Discovery and Eurosport have demonstrated a major commitment to the Olympic Games, to Olympic sports and to the future of the Olympic Movement. The revenue generated from this long-term partnership will be redistributed by the IOC across the Olympic Movement to support the development of sport around the world. Discovery and Eurosport have also made an exciting commitment to partner with the IOC to develop the new Olympic Channel across Europe.”

The territories covered in the agreement are: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vatican City State.