Discovery Signs Olympic Deal For U.K. With BBC

Discovery Communications signed a long-term deal for rights to televise the Olympics in England.

The BBC, which has the U.K. rights to the 2018 and 2020 Olympics, is sub-licensing the pay-TV rights to those games to Discovery.

Discovery, whose Eurosport has the rights to the 2022 and 2024 games is sub-licensing the broadcast right to those games to the BBC.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The Guardian put the value of the deal at $1.3 billion.

“Discovery is a passionate and committed partner of the Olympic Movement. Today’s agreement is a win for UK sports fans and marks an exciting new chapter in Discovery and the BBC’s partnership on major sporting events,” said David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery. “For 30 years, our two organizations have chartered new frontiers with co-production partnerships in factual and natural history programming. Now we join together once again to bring the most compelling stories of human ambition, sacrifice and achievement to people across the UK.”

The BBC also gets digital rights to the content it broadcasts.

“The BBC prides itself on bringing the biggest sporting moments to the public. For many, the BBC has been their stadium for Olympic coverage. It is an event that unites the nation like no other. I'm delighted that through our new partnership with Discovery, the BBC will continue to carry the torch for great sporting coverage right through to the 2024 Games,” said Tony Hall, director general of the BBC. "While the BBC has had to take some tough financial decisions, this partnership underlines our commitment to making world class sport available to all."

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.