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BBC to maintain Olympics coverage after agreeing deal with new rights holder Discovery

The BBC has announced that it will be able to broadcast the next five Olympics after agreeing a deal with Discovery Communications.

Having already secured the rights to the 2016, 2018 and 2020 events, the BBC will now add the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing and the Summer Games two years later to its broadcast schedule.

The deal will come as a relief for the BBC which has relinquished the rights to much of its live sports content, including Formula 1, in a bid to save half a billion pounds over the next five years.

The long-term agreement builds on a 30-year partnership between the broadcasters. Both parties stand to benefit from the deal with the BBC sub-licensing from Discovery exclusive free-to-air audio-visual and non-exclusive radio rights to the 2022 and 2024 Olympic Games. In turn, Discovery will sub-license exclusive pay-TV rights in the UK to the 2018 and 2020 Olympic Games from the BBC.

"The Olympic Games is one of the nation's most treasured sporting events," said Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport.

"This is an extensive package of rights that ensures we can offer the best of the Games, across TV, radio, online and digital, maximising the reach and impact of the BBC.

"This groundbreaking partnership also shows how the BBC can collaborate and work with others to continue to bring the very best in sport to licence fee payers."

Last year US group Discovery signed a £920m exclusive pan-European deal to broadcast every Olympics between 2018 and 2024, however it was expected that the Eurosport owner would sub-license some of the rights.

The move was part of Discovery's takeover of Eurosport and plan to strengthen the channel's live sport offerings with exclusive broadcast agreements such as the Australian Tennis Open.

Director general of the BBC, Tony Hall, said: "While the BBC has had to take some tough financial decisions, this partnership underlines our commitment to making world class sport available to all."

David Zaslav, president and chief executive officer of Discovery Communications, described the deal was "a win for UK sports fans".

The London Olympics saw seven million people visit the BBC website every day and was watched by over 50 million so the BBC will have been keen to come to an arrangement with Discovery Communications, especially give the promising prospects expected to shine in Rio later this year.

Tony Connelly

I cover media, marketing and sponsorship news within the sports industry. This not only includes breaking news but writing feature pieces with insights from experts in the sports marketing world.

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