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Universal Sports On Track With IAAF Renewal

Universal Sports Network and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have reached a multiyear extension of their current media rights agreement for the programmer to present the group’s marquee track and field events in the U.S. through 2019.

The deal, finalized with the IAAF’s commercial partner, Dentsu Inc., gives Universal Sports multiplatform rights, including exclusive TV and Internet access, to all IAAF World Athletic Series events in track and field, cross-country, race walking and half-marathon including the IAAF World Championships, London 2017, and the 2019 edition, whose located will be decided by the IAAF this November. The network already held rights to the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015, under its previous deal with the IAAF.

The announcement comes on the opening day of the IAAF World Junior Championships, Oregon 2014, which are airing exclusively in the U.S. on Universal Sports and from July 23 to 27.

The news also comes three days after the International Olympic Committee declared that it wants to put the porposed establishment of an Olympic TV channel to a vote in special session in December. 

A joint venture of Leo Hindery’s InterMedia Partners LP and NBC Sports, Universal Sports also has rights pacts with a number of international federations governing Olympic sports, including FINA, ISU, ITU, FIVB, USA Swimming and USA Gymnastics.

Encompassing international junior and senior track and field events, the IAAF renewal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, also includes rights to the IAAF World Indoor Championships in 2016 and 2018; IAAF World Junior Championships in 2016 and 2018; IAAF World Youth Championships in 2017 and 2019; IAAF World Cross Country Championships in 2017 and 2019; IAAF World Race Walking Cup in 2016 and 2018; IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in 2016 and 2018; and IAAF Continental Cup in 2018.

“Universal Sports’ commitment to track and field has never been stronger,” said Robert James, senior vice president of content and communications at Universal Sports. “This new extension with the IAAF propels us into the future of the sport, showcasing both world-class athletes and up-and-coming stars from around the globe.” 

"I am delighted that our partnership with Universal Sports has been extended through to 2019,” confirmed IAAF President Lamine Diack. “American fans will continue to enjoy World Championship athletics and the full array of other IAAF World Athletics Series competitions across the mediums of terrestrial, cable and internet. We firmly believe that the consistent high level coverage of our events offered by Universal Sports is the key to Athletics making a genuine impact in households across the USA."