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RTE loses right to the Olympic Games from 2018


Olive Loughnane at the London Olympics in 2012

Olive Loughnane at the London Olympics in 2012

Olive Loughnane at the London Olympics in 2012

RTE have lost the rights to the Olympic Games from 2018 onwards after Discovery Communications, owner of Eurosport, secured a staggering €1.3bn pan-European deal.

The deal by the US company to secure the rights is bad news for national broadcasters all over Europe with 53 countries affected. Britain and France, however, won't be affected until 2020 as they have already secured the rights to those Games.

It includes 53 countries in Europe, but excludes Russia as well as the rights to France and Britain in 2018 (Winter Olympics) and 2020 since those rights have already been sold.

RTE said that it will do all they can to make sure they will broadcast future Olympic Games.

"While RTÉ is disappointed at this announcement, it is 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 that Discovery Channel have said today that they will ‘sub-license a portion of the rights in many markets across Europe’" read a statement sent..

"Under the Broadcasting Act 2009, The Summer Olympics are listed as a Designated Major Event which must be shown free-to-air in this territory.

"RTÉ will 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 – something that all countries would lose in the event of pan-European coverage.

"RTÉ remains optimistic that a solution can be found and in the meantime we look forward to bringing Irish viewers comprehensive free-to-air coverage of next summer’s Olympic games in Rio."

David Zaslav, the chief executive of Discovery Communications, said that the company will negotiate with national broadcasters for a chance to sub-licence some of the rights.

While RTE has the rights for the Rio Games next year, the Discovery deal will mean that they will hold exclusive access to all TV and internet coverage for 2018, 2020, 2022 and 2024.

Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC, said, "Discovery and Eurosport have demonstrated a major commitment to the Olympic Games, to Olympic sports and to the future of the Olympic Movement.

"The revenue generated from this long-term partnership will be redistributed by the IOC across the Olympic Movement to support the development of sport around the world."

Discovery Communications is best known for the Discovery channels and bought Eurosport last year.

"Consistent with IOC and local market requirements, Discovery has committed to broadcast a minimum of 200 hours of the Olympic Games and 100 hours of the Olympic Winter Games on free-to-air television during the Games period," a press release stated.

"Discovery will sub-license a portion of the rights in many markets across Europe."

RTE said it will not be making any comment when contacted.