Discovery wins European broadcast rights to Olympics from 2018-2024

IOC awards Discovery European Olympic TV rights

Discovery Communications, the parent of television channel Eurosport, has agreed to pay 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion) to screen the Olympic Games from 2018 to 2024 across Europe, beating out national public broadcasters who have traditionally shown the event.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) chose Discovery after a competitive auction that attracted more than 10 bids, said Timo Lumme, a television and marketing executive at the IOC.

"This is the first time we have licensed these rights to a single media company to manage and broadcast all the games across all the platforms," said Lumme.

David Zaslav, the chief executive of Discovery Communications, said the company would sub-license some of the rights to national broadcasters such as the BBC or France Televisions to maximize the reach of the Games.

Discovery has also made a commitment to the IOC that a certain amount of the Games will be available on free-to-air TV and not only paid channels.

The agreement covers the Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018, and the 2020 Games in Tokyo in 2020, as well as the Olympic Games in 2022 and 2024, the host cities of which have yet to be selected.

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

The IOC's Lumme told Reuters in an interview that the European broadcast rights from the four Olympics Games from 2018 to 2024 could bring in 1.6 billion euros total, about 10 percent higher than the last period, although the Russian rights have not yet been sold.

Discovery's chairman is billionaire cable entrepreneur John Malone, who also owns a significant stake in Europe's largest cable company Liberty Global.

DISCA wins gold with Olympic rights