New Deal May See RTÉ Lose The Rights To Coverage Of The Olympic Games
National broadcaster RTÉ has reportedly lost the rights for coverage of the Olympic Games after Rio 2016.
According to the Irish Independent, next year’s Games will likely be the last one to have full coverage by RTÉ as a result of a TV rights deal that has reportedly been secured by Discovery Communications, who own Eurosport.
The report states that the €1.3 million deal will have a major impact on coverage of the Games across Europe from 2018.
The deal reportedly ensures that Discovery has exclusive access to TV and internet coverage in 50 countries for the Olympics in 2020 and 2024 and the Winter Olympics in 2018 and 2022.
It has, however, also been stated that they will be obligated to air at least 200 hours of free-to-air coverage of the Olympics and 100 hours of free-to-air of the Winter Olympics.
It is believed that they may sub-license some of the rights for the Games which could mean that RTÉ may get some coverage, but whether this will become a reality is unclear.
“This is a significant agreement for Discovery and the IOC, and we are excited to have Eurosport, the pan-European home of Olympic sports, as a partner,” said Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“This agreement ensures comprehensive coverage of the Olympic Games across Europe, including the guarantee to provide extensive free-to-air television coverage in all territories.”
RTÉ said it was disappointed in a statement this week, but stressed that it was "too early to say definitively that RTÉ won’t broadcast the Olympics in 2020 and 2024."
"It should be noted that rights to Rio 2016 were bought by RTÉ through a third party agency when the EBU failed in its bid for those games and Discovery Channel have said today that they will ‘sub-license a portion of the rights in many markets across Europe’."
The broadcaster continued by stating that it would make every effort to secure the rights for the Summer Olympic Games in 2020 and 2024 "so that Irish viewers can watch home-produced, relevant coverage of Irish athletes competing both in Tokyo in 2020 and at the 2024 Summer games".
"RTÉ remains optimistic that a solution will be found."
Hat tip: The Irish Independent via JOE.ie.