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BBC seeking to sub-lease Olympics after losing rights

Published 01/07/2015

The BBC had 2,500 hours of live coverage - fronted by Gary Lineker (pictured), Sue Barker and Clare Balding - from the London 2012 Games and 650 hours from the Sochi winter Olympics last year but those days are numbered
The BBC had 2,500 hours of live coverage - fronted by Gary Lineker (pictured), Sue Barker and Clare Balding - from the London 2012 Games and 650 hours from the Sochi winter Olympics last year but those days are numbered

The future of Olympics coverage on the BBC is uncertain after Eurosport and parent company Discovery secured a £920million rights deal for the Games.

The BBC have covered the Olympics since 1960 but the decision by the International Olympic Committee to sell to Eurosport means the broadcaster will lose control of coverage from 2022.

The BBC had 2,500 hours of live coverage - fronted by Gary Lineker, Sue Barker and Clare Balding - from the London 2012 Games and 650 hours from the Sochi winter Olympics last year but those days are numbered.

There are similar arrangements with other broadcasters around Europe such as RTE in the Republic of Ireland.

Eurosport have committed to broadcasting only 200 hours of summer Olympics and 100 hours of winter Games on free-to-air television and say in many territories they will sub-license rights back to a terrestrial broadcaster - possibly but not necessarily the BBC.

Under current legislation, the Olympics is a 'Listed event' and has to be on free-to-air TV but that does not include the increasingly important digital or mobile coverage.

The BBC said they would seek talks with Discovery about acquiring the free-to-air rights.

A BBC statement said: "The Olympic Games remain a priority for the BBC and we have already secured the TV, radio and online rights to the next three Olympic Games - 2016, 2018 and 2020.

"We will be seeking further discussions with Discovery about the UK free-to-air rights to the 2022 and 2024 Olympic Games in due course."

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