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Olympics rights shared by EBU and Warner Bros Discovery in Europe until 2032

Joint bid lands pair all media rights across 49 territories.

16 January 2023 Ed Dixon

Getty Images

  • Deal runs from Milano Cortina 2026 to Brisbane 2032
  • EBU members to broadcast more than 200 hours of Summer Games and at least 100 hours of  Winter Games
  • WBD continues as streaming home of ‘every moment’ of the Games

The European Broadcast Union (EBU) and Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) have secured all media rights in Europe for the next four Olympics from 2026 to 2032.

The joint bid from public service network alliance the EBU and media giant WBD sees the pair acquire rights across 49 territories in Europe, excluding Russia and Belarus.

The new deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) kicks in with the 2026 Milano-Cortina Winter Games and runs until the end of the 2032 Summer Olympics in Brisbane.

The Youth Olympic Games are also included in the contract, the tender for which was launched in February 2022.

WBD’s current exclusive €1.3 billion (US$1.4 billion) pact with the IOC, running from 2018 to 2024, spans 50 territories. During this period, WBD has agreed sublicensing deals with EBU members for the Games but kept full coverage for its Eurosport channels and streaming platforms such as Discovery+.

For the past three editions of the Games, WBD oversaw broadcast partnerships with more than 45 free-to-air (FTA) partners and EBU members.

Dependent on territory, WBD will continue to offer the most expansive Olympics coverage, with EBU broadcasters largely remaining restricted in the number of hours they can show.

Under the terms of the latest contract, every EBU member will be able to broadcast more than 200 hours of coverage of the Summer Games and at least 100 hours of the Winter Olympics on television, as well as ‘a broad range’ of radio coverage, live streaming and reporting across digital media platforms.

WBD will continue to bill itself as the streaming home of ‘every moment’ of the Games, though its over-the-top (OTT) offering is not exclusive in Germany, Hungary and the Nordics, where EBU members also get full rights.

The EBU first landed Olympic rights in 1956 and held them until 2012, before losing out to the Sportfive agency in 40 markets for Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016, and then Discovery for the existing deal signed in 2015.

“The EBU and its members provide unparalleled broadcast expertise and reach across Europe, and Warner Bros Discovery, through the recent combination of Warner Media and Discovery, represents one of the world’s largest media and entertainment companies across all programming genres and platforms,” said IOC president Thomas Bach.

“It demonstrates the ongoing appeal of the Olympic Games across Europe. As the IOC redistributes 90 per cent of the revenues it generates, this long-term agreement also provides critical financial stability to the wider sporting movement and ultimately supports the athletes themselves.”

Andrew Georgiou, European sports president and managing director for WBD, added: “As the ‘home of the Olympics in Europe’ for the last three Olympic Games, we are pleased to be extending our relationship with the IOC through 2032. Ahead of what promises to be a magnificent Olympic Games Paris 2024, we are delighted that Warner Bros Discovery will remain the only place where fans can get every moment of the following four Olympics.

“We are grateful to be partnering with the EBU and its members on the next stage of our Olympic journey, extending our commitment made together with the IOC in 2015 to reach more people through broad-reaching and accessible coverage.

“Viewers throughout Europe will continue to have extensive choice and the ability to access the Games across multiple platforms, setting an outstanding foundation to build on the record audience and engagement delivered for Europe for the past three Games.”

“This deal is a game-changer for public service media and demonstrates the abiding strength and solidarity of our union,” said Delphine Ernotte Cunci, president of the EBU and chief executive of France Télévisions.

“Through its members, the EBU has the potential to reach over one billion viewers across Europe via linear and non-linear platforms. And that’s why I’m so pleased to welcome this partnership with the IOC and Warner Bros Discovery, which will ensure the Games will be available to the widest possible audience across Europe.”

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