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Discovery nabs European TV rights to 2018-2024 Olympics

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BREAKING:

Discovery nabs European TV rights to 2018-2024 Olympics

Discovery Communications is becoming the new European broadcaster of the Olympic Games.

In a $1.45 billion deal announced Monday, Discovery's Eurosport channels will televise the 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2024 games on television and on the Internet. When it comes to the Olympics, Discovery will effectively become the NBC of Europe -- the sole rights-holder for the games.

The European rights to the Olympics are currently split up, country by country, across Europe. Discovery said the deal marks the first time the International Olympic Committee has sold all the European rights to a single media company.

Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC, said, "Discovery and Eurosport have demonstrated a major commitment to the Olympic Games, to Olympic sports and to the future of the Olympic Movement." He added, "The revenue generated from this long-term partnership will be redistributed by the IOC across the Olympic Movement to support the development of sport around the world."

Discovery Communications (DISCA), a media company best known in the United States for channels like TLC, Animal Planet and its flagship Discovery channel, has been growing rapidly in other countries and has been seeking more sports programming.

Related: NBC pays $7.75 billion for Olympics through 2032

Media companies have found that sports, particularly live events, are hugely valuable in an age of ad-skipping and on-demand viewing.

The Olympics are one of the best examples of this. The winter and summer games are indelible events, instantly recognized around the world.

That's partly why NBCUniversal pays billions of dollars for the rights to air the games in the U.S. Last year, the network agreed to pay $7.75 billion to extend its contract from 2022 to 2032.

In Europe, the television rights in France and the United Kingdom were already sold through 2020, so the Discovery deals there will take effect in 2022. Everywhere else, from Albania to Ukraine, it'll start in 2018.

Eurosport is available across the continent via a combination of satellite, cable and Internet connections. Monday's deal is another sign of the gradual shift of Olympic programming away from broadcast television, which is free over the public airwaves, and toward subscription services.

But, as is the case with NBC in the U.S., many key Olympic events will still be available over the airwaves in Europe.

"Consistent with IOC and local market requirements, Discovery has committed to broadcast a minimum of 200 hours of the Olympic Games and 100 hours of the Olympic Winter Games on free-to-air television during the Games period," a press release stated. "Discovery will sub-license a portion of the rights in many markets across Europe."

http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/29/media/discovery-communications-olympics-europe/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fmoney_latest+%28CNNMoney%3A+Latest+News%29

Edited by Rob.

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Olympics are protected in the UK and the press release says Discovery will have to provide at least 200 hours of free-to-air coverage in every territory (100 hours for the Winter Games). They plan on sub-licensing the rights in many territories, but I guess they could as well launch a new Freeview channel (like BT Sport will do for their Champions League coverage next season).

This could have huge repercussions in many European countries, with the games switching from public broadcasters to private channels (with more commercial breaks as a consequence).

This will be interesting to see what will happen in France, with Paris as the possible host, TF1 could try to get their piece of the pie like they did in 2012 (airing the ceremonies), or even get the exclusive FTA rights (Discovery doesn't have any free-to-air channel here, and French law forbid any foreign company to own one)

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Doesn't necessarily mean no more BBC coverage, and it certainly shouldn't mean a total loss of free-to-air coverage (as DamC notes). But if the BBC can't do a deal with Discovery for coverage of all events, they may well quit, and decide to become the anti-Olympic network from 2018.

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Just posted this in the 2018 forum. Didn't realize you had it here as well.

What's the thought here from the standpoint of Europeans on an American-based company buying up Olympic rights in Europe?

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Interesting. I like Discovery very much.

My only concern is the contents they will air. What I want to watch in the Olympics are the Spanish athletes and that's what I've got so far with RTVE's broadcasts along with each day's highlights, of course. Now, if it's going to be the same broadcast for the whole Europe on Eurosport, I'm afraid we might get full coverage of the three or four most popular sports (swimming, gymnastics, cycling, athletics) but not much from the rest apart from certain finals, so we may miss many of the athletes from our countries. Fortunately, Discovery has a free-to-air channel in Spain which I hope will have a 24/7 "personalised" schedule to follow the Spaniards in the remaining sports.

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"Discovery will sub-license a portion of the rights in many markets across Europe."

That is the most important sentence of the piece of news - in the European Union events of national interest have to be shown on free-TV - the IOC knows that...

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My concern isn't about the nationality of the corporation that owns the rights, it's the fact Discovery is a pay-TV company in France, and if they want that deal to benefit them, they'll have to keep some exclusive content for them, and I wonder if that could mean the end of the free online streams to follow all the events.

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I can only concur with Rob's tag: Well this is a bit cr#p. Now we'll get Olympic ceremony broadcasts interrupted by commercials as well, and more commercials than we ever got before at ARD and ZDF during the broadcasts from the competitions. Also, some German commentators at Eurosport are almost impossible to bear - especially Sigi Heinrich, who for me is the king of talking sh*t in German sports television. Now here's hoping that ARD and ZDF (even if they don't do everything right in Olympic broadcasting either) still get a substantial portion of the broadcast rights, as sub-license takers. And that will hopefully include the opening and closing ceremonies. I just don't want "Oh, that was part of the ceremony? We couldn't see it here" moments like our American friends have to endure them.

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Just posted this in the 2018 forum. Didn't realize you had it here as well.

What's the thought here from the standpoint of Europeans on an American-based company buying up Olympic rights in Europe?

I don't have a particular problem with who has the rights. My concern is the implications that this agreement may have for coverage of the Olympics in this country, even with the protection that the law here currently provides. 200 hours of coverage sounds like a lot, but it is less than a tenth of the amount that the BBC provided in London. I know that's a slight anomaly given it was a home Games for us, but I would hate to think that the Olympics could end up following the way of too many other events and find themselves largely available only to those who can afford to pay for subscription services.

The one saving grace here, other than the legal position, is that this deal does not come into force in the UK until 2022 and there should be plenty of time to resolve the issues. My worry is that they won't be resolved for the benefit of viewers.

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Do we know what Conservative policy on the designated events for broadcast is? I tried a quick Google but couldn't find much.

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I'm far less worried about this than I would be had it been Sky or BT snapping up the rights. (As the Tory policy, they like to **** over the BBC and help Sky as much as possible)

Eurosport is a long standing player in the Olympic market and I really do think this deal is more about them protecting their main portfolio - Olympic sports outside of the Olympics - by taking control of this Olympic channel. Had it developed the way the IOC were planning they'd have had a major new competitor in the market.

As for the games themselves I really do think Eurosport will be looking to on-sell the rights where possible - suspect there is far more value in doing that than in trying to recoup it through advertising. There is the question of how much - 200 hours of the summer games and 100 hours of the Winter Games is roughly what we're used to on BBC1/BBC2, but if that is all that was offered it would be setting their coverage back 20 years. There needs to be a little bit more to please all sides - I'd say 6-8 streams for the BBC, with Eurosport having everything else. The BBC also has a potential sweatener in opening up the 2016-20 games to British Eurosport too.

My main fear isn't what Eurosport will do, but how BBC Sport will react. In recent years they've been quite happy to give up rights and become a minor party at the rights table, something which doesn't sit well with fans of their respective sports (F1 and Golf). I hope they do fight for as much as Eurosport is willing to give away, rather than just be happy to snap up the crumbs at a discount price.

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I really hope that they sells it on. I actually think it should be decided by law how exclusive rights should be sold. And that should be for one country at time! How can one Company buy for Whole Europe!!! its absurd I think. As one point out it is very different what the countries want to see.

And yes, I know that in Denmark Discovery also have pure Danish channels they could use, and there are coming a local Eurosport (Eurosport Denmark) and also the same in other Nordic countries. But still. I really hope they offer it on to other channels too! There are 3 years to do that in... In Denmark there before have been something bought by a Network, for months later it is sold on to those who normally cover it... So perhaps it is about making Money on the deal by buying it all, and sell most of it to others, and earn Money that way...

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I'm far less worried about this than I would be had it been Sky or BT snapping up the rights. (As the Tory policy, they like to **** over the BBC and help Sky as much as possible)

Eurosport is a long standing player in the Olympic market and I really do think this deal is more about them protecting their main portfolio - Olympic sports outside of the Olympics - by taking control of this Olympic channel. Had it developed the way the IOC were planning they'd have had a major new competitor in the market.

As for the games themselves I really do think Eurosport will be looking to on-sell the rights where possible - suspect there is far more value in doing that than in trying to recoup it through advertising. There is the question of how much - 200 hours of the summer games and 100 hours of the Winter Games is roughly what we're used to on BBC1/BBC2, but if that is all that was offered it would be setting their coverage back 20 years. There needs to be a little bit more to please all sides - I'd say 6-8 streams for the BBC, with Eurosport having everything else. The BBC also has a potential sweatener in opening up the 2016-20 games to British Eurosport too.

My main fear isn't what Eurosport will do, but how BBC Sport will react. In recent years they've been quite happy to give up rights and become a minor party at the rights table, something which doesn't sit well with fans of their respective sports (F1 and Golf). I hope they do fight for as much as Eurosport is willing to give away, rather than just be happy to snap up the crumbs at a discount price.

Of course, the BBC already shares its coverage of the four snooker tournaments it covers with Eurosport, so it's not as if them working together is not unheard of. But I share your concern about how BBC Sport might react to this news, mainly because sport does seem to have taken far more than its fair share of cuts in the corporation's spending. During the run-up to 2012, I had a couple of conversations with someone who used to work at quite a senior level in BBC Sport who basically felt that those at the top of the department were simply not willing to fight hard enough to keep certain rights. As much as one appreciates the value of the commercial, particularly subscription pound, I can't help but come to the same conclusion.

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The IOC has an interest to spread its product/brand to as many people as possible, so I assume there will be sub-licencing to public stations like BBC, ARD/ZDF etc if these are willing to pay the price.

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It doesn't seem to be just a BBC matter. For 2012, most major countries in western Europe had the Summer Olympics as a free-to-air protected event. I think the rules have been updated recently, but so far I haven't found the revised versions in the mire of European Union regulations.

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So,official online LIVE stream channels most likely will not be for free ,yes?

Sadly,that EBU-Eurovisionsports not anymore have the rights since 2012 :(

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Now we'll get Olympic ceremony broadcasts interrupted by commercials as well, and more commercials than we ever got before at ARD and ZDF during the broadcasts from the competitions.

I watched Beijing's opening ceremony on Eurosport and I don't remember any commercial break. I seem to recall that sound and image were slightly out of sync, though, but that was just a one-time issue.

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The IOC has an interest to spread its product/brand to as many people as possible, so I assume there will be sub-licencing to public stations like BBC, ARD/ZDF etc if these are willing to pay the price.

Depends what the price is.

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I really hope that they sells it on. I actually think it should be decided by law how exclusive rights should be sold. And that should be for one country at time! How can one Company buy for Whole Europe!!! its absurd I think. As one point out it is very different what the countries want to see.

This is the first real challenge when it comes to sports rights and I hope at least one broadcaster in one country does push the issue. The EBU can bit collectively (and indeed did for many years), and in more recent times for the countries outside the big five the rights have been on sold to an agency, but then they were sold on in a country by country basis.

Not even the biggest channels have a chance if the rights are sold collectively - and indeed in this case behind closed doors it seems. It's one thing organisations renewing rights with their existing partners without putting them out to tender but I think it's pretty bad form to sign them away without giving the existing rights holders the opportunity to bid.

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The BBC will broadcast the next five Olympics - Summer and Winter - on its television, radio and online platforms.

It had already secured the rights for the 2016, 2018 and 2020 Games.

Now an "innovative" partnership with Discovery Communications ensures the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing and the Summer Games two years later will also be broadcast by the corporation.

The announcement ensures the BBC will continue to be the free-to-air home of the best Olympic action until 2024.

"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 ground-breaking 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."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/olympics/35473371

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That is such a poor deal for everyone concerned - another example of the BBC being taken back to the 90s. I don't even see how that deal can be legal - the Olympics is on the crown jewels list which means it must have free to air live coverage in it's entirity. No World Cup match can be shown on pay TV (they even have to get permission for the group games they have to show on free to air digital channels), so I don't see why any event from the Olympics should be allowed to be exclusive to pay-TV. At the very least every medal event and every event featuring a British participant or team should be free to air, and though I expected a deal where the BBC would get live coverage plus a limited number of additional live feeds in return for the 2018-20 pay-TV rights I didn't expect it to be so crap - just one stream is pathetic and simply inadequate.

The reported £110m price tag for such rights, on top of the BBC giving Eurosport the 2018-20 pay-TV rights, just suggests poor negotiations by the BBC. They only paid £60m for the full rights to London 2012 (where Eurosport also had pay-TV rights), so to pay over double that (as the Winter rights aren't as valuable) for just two streams of coverage really does suggest they're being ripped off. Eurosport only paid £920m for the 2018-2024 rights in total, so the BBC is contributing an eighth for next to nothing.

It also shows how the IOC screwed up by doing a deal with Eurosport behind closed doors - if the BBC were willing to pay that much for such crap secondary UK rights for just one Olympic cycle the IOC would easily have got more than £920m by airing an open aucition amongst all Europes PSBs - the big five would probably have cleared the £1bn mark, and even on top of that the IOC could have sold pay-TV rights to Eurosport as they did previously.

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P.S. Actually seems that just like recent deals this involves the BBC giving up things early and it'll be from 2018, not 2022, that they cut back to two streams. How poor must the BBC's negotiators be?

BBC: We've got the 2018-2020 rights

Eurosport: We've got the 2022-2024 rights

BBC: We'd like to share those please.

Eurosport: Fair enough. We'll let you show no more than two events at a time in return for £110m and the entire rights to 2018-20. Oh, and you'll only be allowed to show two events at a time live in 2018 and 2020 too.

BBC: Great, DEAL!

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