German state broadcasters fail to win Olympic rights in 2024
RTE has already agreed deal with Discovery Communications to sub-licence Games
The Olympic and Paralympic flags displayed at the Tokyo Metropolitan headquarters. Photograph: Getty Images
Eurosport will air the Olympic Games exclusively in Germany between 2018 and 2024, a blow for traditional public service television in the broadcasting battleground with pay-per-view channels.
German state broadcasters ARD and ZDF said that for the first time, they will not be showing the Games, having failed to clinch a deal to buy broadcast rights from Discovery Communications.
Discovery last year won the European broadcast rights for the Olympics from 2018 to 2024 for €1.3 billion, beating out national public broadcasters like the BBC or France Television. But Discovery had indicated that they would negotiate with national broadcasters for a chance to sub-licence some of the rights.
Irish state broadcaster RTÉ has already secured exclusive free-to-air television and multi-platform broadcast rights for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after reaching an agreement with Discovery Communications in June.
RTÉ has also secured broadcast rights for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Under the agreement RTÉ will sub-licence the exclusive free-to-air broadcast rights from Discovery Communications including the linear TV channel and non-exclusive radio rights.
The BBC also agreed a deal for live UK coverage of the key events of both the 2022, and 2024 Games.
However Discovery will market itself as the only place to watch every last moment across an array of live and on demand services.
German monthly Manager Magazin reported in June that talks between Discovery and ARD and ZDF had stalled over the price of a sub-licence. According to the magazine, ARD and ZDF wanted to pay no more than €100 million for the broadcast rights in Germany, while Discovery was demanding at least €150 million.
Discovery declined to comment on details of the negotiations. ARD sports rights director Ulrich Wilhelm said in a statement that Discovery’s demands were “far above what we could justify”, without providing details.
“We are obligated to be economical with our funds. But if Discovery changes its stance, our door is of course open.”
Discovery’s Eurosport said on Monday that it would show the Olympic Games on its Eurosport 1 and DMAX free-TV channels, with some additional content to be made available on its pay-TV channel Eurosport 2 and web platform Eurosport Player.
German athletes won 42 medals in the Rio Olympics last summer, 17 of which were gold.