BBC Retains Summer & Winter Olympic Games Rights Until 2020

By Community | July 18, 2012

The BBC have retained exclusive rights to the Summer and Winter Olympic Games until 2020 in the UK.

This means that the BBC will broadcast the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; the 2016 Olympiad in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang; and the 2020 Olympiad, which has yet to be awarded to a host city.

Despite a recent cut to its sports rights budget, the corporation has ensured that it kept the Olympics in its sporting roster due to the importance of safeguarding free-to-air coverage for British viewers. 

The BBC will be able to broadcast exclusive coverage of the Winter and Summer Games on Free-To-Air televisions in UK homes, as well as offer coverage on other media platforms, such as BBC Online and mobile.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said that the BBC is a “world-renowned media organisation” with a long history of covering the Olympics. 

“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,” he said. 

“The BBC is a world-renowned media organisation 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.”

IOC Vice President Thomas Bach, who led the negotiations, added: “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.”

Mark Thompson, whose last major role as director general of the BBC will be to oversee the London 2012 coverage before he steps down in the autumn, said that that was “delighted” the Games will remain 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,” he said.

During London 2012, the BBC has agreed to ensure viewers can catch every minute of every Olympic event live on 24 HD streams to be available on digital TV platforms and online. The corporation will deliver 2,500 hours of live sports coverage across various platforms over the Games period.