BBC sign deal to broadcast Olympics live in the UK until 2024

The corporation has agreed a "ground-breaking" partnership with Discovery to air the next five summer and winter Olympics

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The Olympics coverage will remain on the BBC after the corporation agreed a deal with Discovery to broadcast the Games until 2024.

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The BBC had signed a deal with Discovery Networks International, the company which bought the rights to the Olympics, to continue to broadcast the next five summer and winter Games live and free-to-air.

The future of the Games on the BBC had been in doubt after Discovery announced it had secured exclusive European broadcasting rights to the Olympics last year.

However, the BBC will retain the UK terrestrial rights to the Games up until at least 2024.

In return, the Beeb has agreed to give Discovery exclusive pay TV rights in the UK to the 2018 Winter Olympics and 2020 Summer Olympics – the two Games that the BBC had already secured as part of a previous deal. Those Games will now also be shown on Eurosport, the sports channel owned by Discovery.

“The BBC prides itself on bringing the biggest sporting moments to the public,” said BBC director-general Tony Hall. “For many, the BBC has been their stadium for Olympic coverage. It is an event that unites the nation like no other. I’m delighted that through our new partnership with Discovery, the BBC will continue to carry the torch for great sporting coverage right through to the 2024 Games.

“While the BBC has had to take some tough financial decisions, this partnership underlines our commitment to making world-class sport available to all.”

Dominic Coles, COO, Discovery Networks Northern Europe, added, “We are proud and excited to be announcing this ground-breaking sports partnership with the BBC today.

“Not only will the BBC be able to continue to play its historic role of uniting the UK in celebrating the sporting achievements of its Olympic heroes, but also Discovery, through Eurosport, will bring additional expert and comprehensive coverage to the 2018 and 2020 Olympic Games.”

Head of BBC Sport Barbara Slater admitted to Prolific North that she was relieved the “cloud of uncertainty” surrounding the Olympics had been lifted.

“For quite a while the BBC’s future role in covering the Olympic Games was in question; a jewel in the crown that could have disappeared from the BBC’s airwaves for four years or possibly longer. Today, that cloud of uncertainty has lifted.

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“Despite the scale of the competitive and financial challenges we face, the BBC’s long term commitment to sport could not be better demonstrated than through our holding of exclusive free-to-air rights to the next 5 Olympic Games.”