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ARD and ZDF reclaim Olympics from Discovery

  • Sat, 12 Aug 2017 02:37

Eurosport will not transmit the Olympic Games exclusively in Germany between 2018 and 2024.

After intensive negotiations, SportA, the joint sports rights agency of German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF, has reached an agreement with Eurosport’s parent company Discovery regarding comprehensive sublicensing rights for the next four Olympic Games.

In time for the upcoming Winter Games in early February 2018, it is thereby ensured that ARD and ZDF will continue their tradition of offering comprehensive live coverage of the Olympics on TV, radio and internet, according to the public broadcasters. Eurosport will transmit the competitions in parallel on free-to-air TV and on its subscription OTT service Eurosport Player.

“We are happy to have reached a partnership solution with Discovery regarding the transmission of the Olympic Games. Jointly with Discovery, ARD and ZDF will be able to broadcast the Olympic Games on all platforms and distribution infrastructures,” said Ulrich Wilhelm, ARD’s head of sports rights.

ZDF’s general director Thomas Bellut added: “It’s been worth battling for the live rights. Our audience can now again rely on being presented the games in the usual quality by ARD and ZDF.”

Peter Hutton, CEO of Eurosport, said: “This long-term commitment between Discovery and ARD/ZDF is another example of our game-changing approach to premium live sport, empowering viewers to watch the biggest moments in sport whenever and however they choose. For the Olympic Games, our ambition is to share the world’s greatest event with more people, on more screens, than ever before. Establishing free-to-air partnerships with the best national broadcasters across Europe, such as ARD/ZDF, will enable us to fulfil this transformational goal.”

No details were given on the financial conditions of the agreement with Discovery. The US company acquired the European TV rights for the Olympic Games between 2018 and 2024 for a total of €1.3 billion in June 2015.

As no solution had been reached with ARD and ZDF regarding sublicences, mainly due to different price expectations, Discovery announced in November 2016 that Eurosport will transmit the Olympic Games exclusively in Germany. In July 2017, it emerged that ARD and ZDF have re-entered negotiations with Discovery regarding sublicences.

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