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Discovery scoops European TV rights to the Olympics from BBC

The BBC has long been the European home of the Olympics, but a new deal between the International Olympic Committee and Discovery will change that. Discovery announced today that it has been awarded all TV and multi-platform broadcast rights throughout Europe (except Russia) for 2018-2024, a total of four Olympics. Starting with the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Eurosport, owned by Discovery, will air the Games.

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“Today is a historic day as we proudly add the Olympic rings to Discovery Communications’ portfolio of offerings. The long-term programming commitment with [IOC] President [Thomas] Bach and the IOC reaffirms Eurosport’s position as the leader in sports across Europe, and will significantly enhance Eurosport’s presence on all platforms,” said Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav in a press release.

Bach highlighted that the agreement will make the games accessible to sports fans in Europe “on the platform of their choice,” bringing coverage to over 700 million people. Discovery and Eurosport’s coverage will include free-to-air access, along with partnerships with broadcasters and distributors.

According to The Guardian, a pre-existing deal means that the BBC will still be able to broadcast the 2018 and 2020 Olympics in Pyeongchang and Tokyo, respectively. After that point, the broadcaster would have to negotiate sub-licensing agreements with Discovery. Zaslav expressed an interest in such deals, stating, “Now we have the exclusive rights to the Olympics on every platform, we’ll begin discussions with all the different players in every market.”

How this will affect coverage of the Games remains to be seen, but in the meantime, Discovery and Eurosport are understandably excited about the new deal. Arnaud Simon, Senior Vice President Content & Production of Eurosport, tweeted out the news, sharing a photo of the event.