BERLIN (Reuters) - British broadcaster BBC has been awarded the Olympic broadcasting rights for their territory until 2020, keeping the world’s biggest multi-sport event on free-to-air television for at least another eight years, the IOC said on Wednesday.
The BBC also acquired the broadcast rights across all media platforms, including internet and mobile, for the Summer Games of Rio de Janeio 2016 and the Winter Olympics of Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018, the IOC said in a statement without providing any financial details of the deal.
“I‘m delighted that the Olympic Games will continue to be broadcast exclusively on the BBC into the 2020s,” BBC Director-General Mark Thompson said in the statement.
“It’s terrific news in the days before BBC Sport begins to cover the London 2012 Games and a tribute to the enduring partnership between the BBC and the Olympic Movement”.
The BBC, funded by a license fee levy on British households, plans to stream live coverage of every event from the London Games starting on July 27, something it has never done before.
The broadcaster has covered every Games since London last hosted the Olympics in 1948.
There had been speculation in recent months, fueled by comments made by IOC President Jacques Rogge in June, that the rights for the Games from 2014 onwards could be sold to a subscription station such as BSkyB.
The BBC carries no advertising and is funded by a levy of 145.50 pounds ($230) taken from every household with a television.
On Wednesday, Rogge said the decision to maintain the partnership with the BBC was the right one for the Games.
“The BBC is a world-renowned media organization with which we are proud to have worked for many decades, including for the upcoming Olympic Games,” Rogge said.
“We are delighted that the BBC will continue as our partner beyond London 2012, providing fantastic free coverage of the Olympic Games to the widest possible audience in the UK across a variety of media platforms.”
In a deal struck last year, NBC Universal paid $4.38 billion for the U.S. broadcast rights for four Games from 2014-2020.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by John O'Brien