The BBC has secured the UK broadcast rights for television, mobile and online for four more Olympic Games.
The new agreement, negotiated directly between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the BBC for the first time, covers Sochi 2014, Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018 and the 2020 Games, which will be in Istanbul, Tokyo or Madrid.
Confirmation of the deal just days before the corporation's blanket coverage of London 2012 comes after months of speculation that the BBC's run of covering every Olympic Games since 1960 might be under threat, following major budget cuts at BBC Sport. The speculation had centred on a possible rights split between a free-to-air broadcaster and a pay service - a model now used in other key territories, notably Italy.
The new exclusive deal, however, rules out a pay-television broadcaster such as Sky taking Olympic rights in the UK for at least another decade.
Mark Thompson, the BBC's outgoing director general, said: "I'm delighted that the Olympic Games will continue to be broadcast exclusively on the BBC into the 2020s. It's terrific news in the days before BBC Sport begins to cover the London 2012 Games and a tribute to the enduring partnership between the BBC and the Olympic Movement."
IOC president Jacques Rogge added: "As the host of the London 2012 Olympic Games and the birthplace of many Olympic sports, the UK is a very important nation for the Olympic Movement.
"The BBC is a world-renowned media organisation with which we are proud to have worked for many decades, including for the upcoming Olympic Games. We are delighted that the BBC will continue as our partner beyond London 2012, providing fantastic free coverage of the Olympic Games to the widest possible audience in the UK across a variety of media platforms."
While for previous deals the BBC has negotiated with the European Broadcasting Union, this rights cycle saw the IOC sell the bulk of European media rights to the Sportfive agency but retain several key markets - UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Turkey - to sell in-house. Although no financial details of the BBC's new deal were immediately available the new European sales model has proved lucrative to the IOC.
Having sold the bulk of the rights to Sportfive for a US$350 million guarantee it has reportedly secured US$125 million from France, US$186 million from Germany and US$218 million from Italy.
The August edition of SportsPro features an extensive interview with Dave Gordon, the BBC's head of major events, on the BBC's comprehensive plans for London 2012.To subscribe to the magazine, click here.