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Olympian Agreement between Discovery and the BBC

Discovery Communications and the BBC have signed a long-term partnership for the coverage of the Olympic games. The BBC will be the UK's exclusive free-to-air broadcasters for the next five Olympic games. Discovery is committed to striking innovative partnerships across Europe after winning the rights to the games in 2015. This builds on a 30 year partnership between the two companies.

The BBC will continue to show the Olympic games from 2022 to 2024, in turn Discovery will have exclusive pay TV rights to the Olympic games in 2018 to 2020.

More than 50 million people in the UK tuned into BBC coverage of the London 2012 games, with 7 million people in the UK accessing the BBC website for coverage.

Eurosport will remain the home for the Olympic games across Europe as part of the deal.

Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC, says: "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.

"While the BBC has had to take some tough financial decisions, this partnership underlines our commitment to making world-class sport available to all."

David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications, says: “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. For 30 years, our two organisations 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."

Timo Lumme, Managing Director of IOC Television and Marketing Services, says: “We are delighted our partners Discovery / Eurosport and the BBC are collaborating on this long term agreement which is great news for viewers in the UK. By sharing the rights, viewers will benefit from the BBC’s rich Olympic heritage and Discovery’s innovative approach to storytelling. Together, they will make the Olympic Games as accessible and engaging as possible.”

Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport, says: “We are very pleased that the BBC will continue to bring free-to-air Olympic Games coverage to audiences through to 2024, extending our relationship with the event which began in 1928 and reinforcing the BBC’s long-term commitment to major sporting events. The Olympic Games is one of the nation’s most treasured sporting events and this is an extensive package of rights that ensures we can offer ‘the best of the Games’, across TV, radio, online and digital, maximising the reach and impact of the BBC. This ground-breaking partnership also shows how the BBC can collaborate and work with others to continue to bring the very best in sport to licence fee payers.”

JB Perrette, President of Discovery Networks International, says: “Since the announcement of our partnership with the IOC, it has been Discovery’s goal to engage and entertain local audiences in Europe with the ultimate Olympic Games experience across all screens. To realise this ambition, we will leverage our portfolio of pay-TV, free-to-air and digital services, and collaborate with the very best partners who share this vision – the BBC partnership embodies this perfectly."

Dominic Coles, COO, Discovery Networks Northern Europe, says: “We are proud and excited to be announcing this ground-breaking sports partnership with the BBC today. Not only will the BBC be able to continue to play its historic role of uniting the UK in celebrating the sporting achievements of its Olympic heroes, but also Discovery, through Eurosport, will bring additional expert and comprehensive coverage to the 2018 and 2020 Olympic Games. Greater exposure for UK Olympians only can be good news for the development of sport and the promotion of Olympic values in this country. Watch this space.”