The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Warner Bros Discovery have been awarded European broadcast and digital media rights for the four Olympic Games taking place between 2026 to 2032, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced.
The deal means RTÉ, a member of the EBU, and other public-service broadcasters across Europe will continue to show “broad free-to-air” coverage of the games, with Warner Bros Discovery, the owner of Eurosport, retaining streaming rights to “every moment”.
Starting from 2026, each EBU member will broadcast more than 200 hours of coverage of the summer games and “at least” 100 hours of the winter games on television. A “broad range” of live-streaming coverage is included in the deal, the EBU said.
But full, unrestricted streaming of every event in every sport will be the preserve of Discovery Plus, with Warner Bros Discovery also providing coverage through its linear Eurosport channels.
The new deal covers the 2026 winter games in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, the summer games in Los Angeles in 2028, the 2030 winter games in an as yet undetermined location and the Brisbane 2032 summer games.
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“Sport should be for everyone,” said EBU director-general Noel Curran, a former director-general of RTÉ.
“We need public-service media to bring audiences together to enjoy big national moments, to inspire the next generation of athletes and to grow fanbases for new and emerging sports. No other media brand can guarantee so much multi-platform exposure to so many people. This deal just highlights the incredible power of public-service media when we all pull together.”
RTÉ director-general Dee Forbes said the Olympics always captured the hearts and minds of the Irish public.
“We look forward to continuing our comprehensive coverage in Paris 2024 and beyond, supporting Team Ireland and sharing the moments that will inspire future generations.”
Warner Bros Discovery, previously known as Discovery Communications before a merger with WarnerMedia, was the sole winner of the rights for the past three editions of the games as well as Paris. It subsequently agreed partnerships with more than 45 broadcasters to guarantee free-to-air access – with this being required by law in certain markets, including the Irish one.
IOC president Thomas Bach said the committee was “delighted” to have reached a long-term agreement with the two media organisations for the new 49-territory deal, saying the EBU and its members provided “unparalleled broadcast expertise and reach” and that Warner Bros Discovery was one of the world’s largest media and entertainment companies across all genres and platforms.
“It demonstrates the ongoing appeal of the Olympic Games across Europe,” he said.
“As the IOC redistributes 90 per cent of the revenues it generates, this long-term agreement also provides critical financial stability to the wider sporting movement and ultimately supports the athletes themselves.”
EBU president Delphine Ernotte Cunci, who also serves as chief executive of France Télévisions, said the union of public-service media was “proud” to have secured Olympic Games rights.
“Through its members, the EBU has the potential to reach over 1 billion viewers across Europe via linear and non-linear platforms. And that’s why I’m so pleased to welcome this partnership with the IOC and Warner Bros Discovery, which will ensure the games will be available to the widest possible audience across Europe.”
Warner Bros Discovery and the EBU have previously provided complementary coverage of sporting events including the World Athletics Championships and cycling’s Tour de France and La Vuelta Grand Tour races.
“Ahead of what promises to be a magnificent Olympic Games Paris 2024, we are delighted that Warner Bros Discovery will remain the only place where fans can get every moment of the following four Olympics,” said Andrew Georgiou, president and managing director of Warner Bros Discovery Sports Europe.
“Viewers throughout Europe will continue to have extensive choice and the ability to access the games across multiple platforms, setting an outstanding foundation to build on the record audience and engagement delivered for Europe for the past three games.”