The deal excludes France and Britain in 2018 and 2020, where deals had already been struck, but covers those nations for 2022 and 2024. This deal also excludes the Russian Federation.
Discovery, which is based in Silver Spring, operates a Eurosport channel as well as some online operations. While Olympic programming will likely be carried on those outlets, Discovery is expected to sell the rights to European broadcasters, who will, in turn, localize the broadcasts for their own audiences.
In comparison to the deal that NBC struck with the International Olympic Committee last year to renew their longstanding pact for $7.65 billion through 2032, Discovery got a relatively good deal, though it should be noted that the deal’s value without Britain and France is significantly smaller than if those two countries were included.
Discovery President and chief executive David Zaslav told Sports Business Daily that he enlisted the help of former NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol in making connections with the IOC.
Ebersol, who ran NBC Sports for 22 years, engineered a number of deals with the IOC which gave the network exclusive control of American Olympic telecasts for more than 20 years.
It’s unlikely that Discovery’s new deal with the IOC will be as transformational as the contracts that NBC has struck to forge a relationship that goes back to 1988 and will run for more than 40 years.
Still, the deal will make Discovery, which pledged to place 200 hours of Summer Olympic television and 100 hours of Winter Olympic telecasts on free over-the-air television, a bigger player in Europe going forward.
“Today is a historic day,” Zaslav said. “This new partnership is an exciting win for European sports fans as we will deliver record amounts of content across platforms to ensure the Olympic flame burns bright all year long.”
Discovery, which bought Eurosport last year for $345 million, will also partner with the IOC to help develop a Olympic TV channel that is scheduled to launch next year and will be distributed throughout the continent.
“Above all, this agreement ensures that sports fans in Europe will be able to enjoy excellent coverage of the Olympic Games and Olympic sports, both during and outside Games time, on their platform of choice,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement.