In a deal similar to the one signed by NBC, the venerable BBC has been awarded the UK rights to the Olympics through 2020. The BBC bid for four Olympiads, 2014 in Sochi, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, 2018 in Pyeongyang and 2020 at a site that has yet to be determined.
There had been speculation that the BBC’s tradition of airing the Olympics would be threatened as the British Public Broadcaster was under a mandate to cut costs. The BBC had lost half of the Formula 1 package, sharing it with Sky Sports and lost an opportunity to get a piece of the English Premier League due to this mandate. However, it did manage to sign a new contract with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for the rights to Wimbledon though 2017 and also obtained the World Track & Field Championships for 2015 and 2017.
So this is a big win for BBC. The BBC has been broadcasting the Olympics dating back to 1948 and has aired the Games continuously since 1960.
We have the press release.
The BBC has today announced that it has signed a deal with the International Olympics Committee (IOC) for the rights to cover the next four Olympic Games. The deal will include exclusive TV, radio and digital rights for Sochi 2014, Rio 2016, Pyeongchang 2018 as well as the 2020 Games.
Mark Thompson, Director-General, BBC said: “I’m delighted that the Olympic Games will continue to be broadcast exclusively on the BBC into the 2020s. It’s terrific news in the days before BBC Sport begins to cover the London 2012 Games and a tribute to the enduring partnership between the BBC and the Olympic movement.”
Barbara Slater, Director, BBC Sport, said: “This news will come as a massive boost to our teams who are about to undertake our most ambitious sports broadcast ever at the biggest sporting event in our country’s history. The Olympic Games has always been significant as an event that brings the nation together as well as a catalyst for broadcasting innovation and we’re delighted that BBC Sport can now continue to deliver on these traditions through to 2020.”
Dominic Coles, COO 2012 Olympics, who negotiated the deal, said: “It’s vital that big national and international events like the Olympic Games remain free-to-air where they can be watched by the greatest number of people. We’re delighted to continue our longstanding partnership with the Olympics and the IOC, adding to BBC Sport’s outstanding rights portfolio and firmly establishing the BBC as the home of major sporting events that unite the nation and this deal demonstrates that BBC Sport remains a force in sports broadcasting.”
Rio 2016 and the 2020 Olympics will represent the 16th and 17th Summer Olympic Games broadcast by the BBC, a sequence that began with the 1948 Games in London and one that has run unbroken since the 1960 Games in Rome, Italy.
In total the BBC will have broadcast 33 Olympic Games after the 2020 Games, including the 16 Winter Olympics since Squaw Valley, California, USA, also in 1960.
At the London 2012 Olympic Games, for the first time, the BBC will be providing live coverage of every Olympic Sport from every venue throughout the day. This will amount to around 2,500 hours of live Olympic sporting action, over 1,000 hours more than Beijing 2008.
The next set of Olympic rights that I’m keeping an eye on is Canada. At this point, the IOC seems in no hurry to award the rights to a Canadian broadcaster after twice rejecting a joint bid from CTV/CBC.