Discovery, which has the European TV and digital rights to the Olympics, has thrown its weight behind the bid by Paris to host the 2024 Summer Games. Paris is battling Los Angeles – which has hosted the Olympics twice already – for the honor after Budapest, Hamburg, and Rome all dropped out. A decision will be announced by September, with Paris currently considered the favorite.
Discovery owns the Eurosport channel and paid €1.3 billion ($1.5 billion) for the European rights to both the Summer and Winter Games between 2018 and 2024. Eurosport is headquartered in the French capital, and Discovery CEO David Zaslav said the company supports the effort to hold the games in Europe.
“When Discovery Communications secured the rights across Europe for the Olympic Games from 2018-2024, we did so with tremendous passion, commitment, and ambition, irrespective of the location of the Games,” Zaslav said.
“Discovery has significant operations in Paris and Los Angeles, and we consider both to be world-class cities. That said, as home of the Olympic Games in Europe through 2024, we are excited to show our support for the Paris bid and their quest to bring the 2024 Olympic Games back to Europe.”
Discovery and Eurosport management met with the Paris bid co-president Bernard Lapasset during the French Open tennis tournament, which is currently underway in Paris.
“The support of our bid by Discovery and Eurosport demonstrates once again the strong unity and firm commitment across Europe to seeing the Olympic and Paralympic Games return to Paris for a centenary celebration in 2024,” Lapasset said after that meeting.
Three-time Olympic champion and Paris 2024 Co-Chair Tony Estanguet added: “Broadcast rights holders such as Discovery play a vital role within the Olympic movement, not only in their ability to share the games with audiences around the world but also by providing essential resources, helping to bring sport to all at the heart of our society.”
A Paris Games would be advantageous for Discovery in terms of scheduling, especially compared to L.A., which is eight to 10 hours behind mainland Europe, meaning evening events in L.A. would play in the middle of the night on the continent, with a negative impact on live-viewing numbers.