The BBC Has Lost the Rights to Broadcast the Olympics

By Gerald Lynch on at

The BBC's coverage of the 2012 Olympics was as comprehensive as the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) licence would allow for. But that hasn't been enough for the publicly funded broadcaster to retain the rights to the sporting extravaganza. Despite having televised the Olympic Games since 1948, the IOC has today announced it's struck a £922 million deal with Discovery, making the go-to broadcaster for the 2018-2024 summer and winter Games Eurosport.

That's not to say the BBC's coverage ends abruptly. It shares the rights with Discovery through the 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 games. But from 2022 onwards, the Beeb will have to negotiate the right to sub-license mobile or televised coverage from Discovery, rather than the IOC. Eurosport has ensured it will offer "extensive free-to-air television coverage in all territories" though, so you won't have to worry about missing out on the action.

But for the BBC's sporting coverage, it's another significant loss, with everything from the Formula One grand prix series to the British Open golfing championship lost to rival broadcasters in recent times. For Discovery, it's the company's biggest scalp since acquiring Eurosport in May 2014, having lost out to Sky and BT in the race to snap up Premiership football rights. [IOC]