“It’s a big day for BBC Sport” said the broadcaster’s director-general and could not resist taking a dig at the British print media. “So much nonsense has been written about the modern BBC and sport that it’s worth spending a moment setting the record straight,” Mark Thompson writes in a lengthy blog, commenting on the IOC’s announcement that the Olympic TV and digital rights have been awarded to BBC for the Olympics through to 2020.
“The fact that we’ve won exclusive broadcast and digital rights to the next four Olympic Games – two winter and two summer games – means not just that Olympic action will be on the BBC into the 2020s, but that we have secured one of the last pieces in a portfolio of strategic sports rights which ensure that the BBC remains the UK’s most popular sports broadcaster well beyond the present Royal Charter,” writes Thompson. “From Premier League highlights on television to Wimbledon to the Six Nations to the FIFA World Cup 2014 to Formula One to the Olympics – and that’s by no means a complete list – we now have rights arrangements which stretch out for many years and which guarantee that sport will continue to be a central part of the diet of license-payers across BBC Television, Radio and Online.”
Awarding the exclusive UK broadcast rights to BBC, the IOC concludes a successful new negotiating approach during which key European territories were contacted directly after decades of agreements with European Broadcasting Union. Deals have already been completed with France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Turkey while SportFive acquired the rights for the rest of Europe. Although the fees negotiated are kept a secret it may well be assumed that grand total for two Olympic Games (2014 and 2016) will exceed $1 billion for the first time.
According to the IOC, BBC has acquired the broadcast rights across all media platforms, including internet and mobile for the Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games and the 2016 Summer Olympic in Rio de Janeiro as well as the 2020 Olympics, the host of which will be elected among Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo next year in Buenos Aires.
Commenting on the deal with BBC, which was negotiated by IOC Vice-President Thomas Bach, IOC President Jacques Rogge said: “As the host of the London 2012 Olympic Games and the birthplace of many Olympic sports, the UK is a very important nation for the Olympic Movement.”
“The BBC is a world-renowned media organization with which we are proud to have worked for many decades, including for the upcoming Olympic Games. We are delighted that the BBC will continue as our partner beyond London 2012, providing fantastic free coverage of the Olympic Games to the widest possible audience in the UK across a variety of media platforms,” Thomas Bach added.
He continued: “The BBC consistently does an excellent job of broadcasting the Olympic Games, so this long-term agreement is very good news for sports fans in the UK. From a commercial perspective, we adapted our traditional broadcast rights approach in Europe for the 2014-2016 cycle and beyond, and have negotiated several key European territories directly. This announcement is significant as it completes the IOC’s direct negotiations for the 2014-2016 period in Europe.”
This article appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern, which is published by Karl-Heinz Huba in Lorsch, Germany. Mr. Huba can be reached via email at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission from Mr. Huba.