The BBC has lost control of the rights to broadcast the Olympic Games from 2022 and beyond.
Instead, the rights have been granted to US broadcaster Discovery, which owns the Eurosport channel.
Eurosport managed to bag the pan-European deal exclusively, although it didn’t come cheap – it shelled out an incredible £920 million to win the bidding.
Fortunately for the BBC, Discovery’s chief executive David Zaslav has told The Guardian that it’s willing to negotiate sub-licensing deals with the BBC.
“Part of our approach will be to strive to work with some of the best Olympic broadcast players.
He continued: “We want to give them the opportunity to sub-licence. In some markets we will run free-to-air, pay TV and all devices and in others we’ll we’ll partner with others.”
The BBC has already secured rights to broadcast the 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020 Olympic Games, but both the summer and winter Games will be off-limits past 2020 if a sub-licensing deal isn’t arranged.
It would be the end of an era if the BBC missed out on future Olympic events, as the broadcaster has televised the Games since 1948.
The BBC said in a statement: “The Olympic Games remains a priority for the BBC and we have already secured the TV, radio, and online rights to the next three Olympic Games – 2016, 2018, and 2020. More than 90 per cent of the UK population watched the BBC’s coverage of London 2012 and it remains one of the most popular free-to-air sporting events for UK viewers.”
It continued: “It is not unprecedented for sports rights to be sold on a pan-territory basis and the BBC has acquired other sports rights via sub-licensing deals via either agencies or broadcasters. We will be seeking further discussions with Discovery about the UK free-to-air rights to the 2022 and 2024 Olympic Games in due course.”
Would you be sad to see the BBC lose the Olympic Games? Let us know in the comments.