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BBC, Discovery Sign Long-Term Olympic Games Partnership

LONDON — U.K. public broadcaster the BBC and Discovery Communications have inked a long-term Olympic Games agreement in the U.K.

The BBC will sub-license from Discovery exclusive free-to-air audio-visual and non-exclusive radio rights to the 2022 and 2024 Olympic Games. In turn, Discovery will sub-license from the BBC exclusive pay TV rights in the U.K. to the 2018 and 2020 Olympic Games. The BBC’s package of rights is supplemented by digital rights to the content it broadcasts on TV.

The Games have been hugely popular with U.K. audiences, as elsewhere. The London 2012 Olympic Games was watched by more than 50 million people on the BBC.

The agreement marks the first Olympic Games sub-licensing deal by Discovery. It follows an agreement announced by Discovery and the International Olympic Committee last June, which includes exclusive multimedia rights for 50 countries and territories in Europe for the 2018 through the 2024 Olympic Games. The rights for the U.K. were included for only 2022 and 2024, as the rights for 2018 and 2020 had already been secured by the BBC in the U.K.

Tony Hall, director general of the BBC, said: “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.”

He added: “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, said: “Discovery is a passionate and committed partner of the Olympic movement. Today’s agreement is a win for U.K. sports fans and marks an exciting new chapter in Discovery and the BBC’s partnership on major sporting events. For 30 years, our two organizations 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 U.K.”

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