Eurosport seals EU Olympics TV rights & plans to air 200 free hours

Discovery Communications has agreed a sum for 1.3 billion euros for the European TV rights to the Olympic Games from 2018 to 2024.

For the first time ever, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has handed control of its European coverage to a single media company, bypassing deals with broadcasters at a national level.

The announcement, made today (Monday 29 June) stated that Discovery Communications, parent firm of Eurosport will reach an estimated 700 million Europeans in 53 countries.

Furthermore, the content will be aired across an array of platforms including free-to-air, pay-TV, online and mobile

Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, said: “This is a significant agreement… ensuring comprehensive coverage of the Olympic Games across Europe, including the guarantee to provide extensive free-to-air television coverage in all territories.

"This agreement ensures that sports fans in Europe will be able to enjoy excellent coverage of the Olympic Games and Olympic sports, both during and outside Games time, on their platform of choice.”

David Zaslav, president and chief executive of Discovery Communications, added: “Today is a historic day as we proudly add the Olympic rings to Discovery Communications’ portfolio of offerings. 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.”

As a result of the move, the BBC which has been an ardent broadcaster of the Games since 1948, will have to bid for the 200 hours of the Olympic Games that will be sub-licensed on a national basis to free-to-air television in markets across Europe.

While the deal broadly covers the 2018 to 2024 games, both France and Britain will not see Eurosport take up the mantle until 2022 due to the rights already being sold prior to the Discovery deal.

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