European state broadcasters back in business for Olympics

Jan 15, 2023, 2:47 PM | Updated: Jan 16, 2023, 4:51 am

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — European state broadcasters were brought back into the heart of Olympic business on Monday when the IOC announced a rights deal through 2032 with the European Broadcasting Union.

Rights covering 49 countries for four Olympics from 2026-2032 were awarded to both the EBU and Warner Bros. Discovery, the International Olympic Committee said.

The EBU represents state-run broadcasters like the BBC in Britain, Rai in Italy and ZDF in Germany, as well as other networks. It also organizes the Eurovision Song Contest.

The previous European deal signed in 2015 — covering two editions each of the Summer Games and Winter Games from 2018-2024 — was exclusively with Discovery, the parent company of the Eurosport network. Discovery then sublicensed some rights to the state broadcasters who historically had broadcast Olympics.

The value of the latest four-Games deal was not announced. The 2018-2024 rights held by Discovery was priced in 2015 at 1.3 billion euros (then $1.5 billion) for the IOC.

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

Each EBU member is set to be able to broadcast more than 200 hours from the Summer Games, to be hosted in 2028 by Los Angeles and 2032 by Brisbane, and at least 100 hours from the Winter Games of 2026 in Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo and 2030 at a host city yet to be decided.

Discovery still holds all pay TV rights and Eurosport will continue to be the only network able to broadcast and stream all the action from every sport at an Olympics.

Russia was not part of the European deal. It also was not included in Discovery’s 2015 agreement.

The IOC-funded Olympic Channel, which was a key part of the deal with Discovery in 2015, was not mentioned in Monday’s announcement.

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European state broadcasters back in business for Olympics