The Olympics will remain on the BBC until at least 2032 after a new deal with rights holders guarantees wider free-to-air coverage by broadcasters across Europe.
The deal with the corporation, which provides the same 500 hours of TV coverage and up to two live events as the existing deal, has been concluded with new joint rights holders, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and US television billing company Warner Bros Discovery (WBD).
“This partnership ensures that UK audiences will continue to have free access to the Olympic Games for the next decade,” said Barbara Slater, the BBC’s director of sport. “The BBC’s ability to bring the nation together is second to none and this new deal provides sports fans with a comprehensive, compelling live and on-demand offering.”
The deal will cover broadcasting rights for the Summer Games in Los Angeles in 2028 and Brisbane in 2032, the Winter Games in Milano Cortina in 2026 and an unnamed host city in 2030.
The new sub-licensing agreement follows the International Olympic Committee awarding European Olympic rights covering 49 territories to the EBU and WBD following a tender process.
Europe’s public broadcasters will be hoping the new joint rights deal will mean wider coverage than many were able to secure in sub-licensing deals reached under the existing £920m deal covering 2018-2024, which the IOC struck exclusively with WBD, the owner of Eurosport, Discovery and streaming services Discovery+.
In some markets, such as Norway and Sweden, WBD moved all of its coverage of the Olympics to its own free-to-air services, and in the United Kingdom it was also able to seek a deal with ITV, Channel 4 or Channel 5 instead of the BBC.
The deal that WBD finally struck with the BBC at the time resulted in the corporation losing the right to broadcast thousands of hours of the Olympics on TV and ceasing to offer dozens of live streams of the event that gave viewers full coverage. WBD has broadcast 3,500 hours of broadcasts in the UK.
The BBC said the new deal, which runs from 2026, retains the same broadcast and digital rights as the existing deal.
“We are proud to secure the Olympic Games for audiences to enjoy free-to-air until 2032,” said Delphine Ernotte Cunci, President of the EBU and CEO of France Télévisions. “This deal is a game changer for public service media. Through its members, the EBU has the potential to reach more than 1 billion viewers across Europe via linear and non-linear platforms. It will ensure that the Games are accessible to the widest possible audience across Europe.”
Although this will mean that all public service broadcasters in Europe will be guaranteed to be able to broadcast the Olympics, the guarantees do not apply to general coverage.
The EBU said the new deal would see each member broadcaster be able to broadcast around 200 hours of the Summer Games and 100 hours of the Winter Games on TV, with “a wide range of radio coverage, livestreaming and coverage via the web, apps and social media platforms”.
WBD said that after the new broadcast rights deal begins in 2026, its platforms “will remain the only place where fans can get every moment of the next four Olympics.”