Eurosport will transmit the Olympic Games between 2018 and 2024 exclusively in Germany. The negotiations with public broadcasters ARD and ZDF regarding sublicences have failed.
The Eurosport coverage will commence with the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Eurosport 1 which is offered as a free-to-air service in Germany will be the main channel screening the live events, focussing on German athletes. The programmes will be locally developed and produced.
Free-to-air men’s channel DMAX which is operated by Discovery Networks Deutschland like Eurosport will provide additional coverage. Further exclusive content will be shown on pay-TV channel Eurosport 2. Subscription OTT multiscreen service Eurosport Player will complement the TV coverage for PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets.
“We are excited to bring German fans an outstanding Olympic Games experience that will be highly comprehensive and in-depth. For the first time, our multi-platform approach will give fans the opportunity to enjoy every single moment live, with all of the data available in real time, for every German athlete and every event,” said Susanne Aigner-Drews, senior vice-president and general manager of Discovery Networks Deutschland.
“Building on the strong legacy of the past, our extensive free-to-air coverage will be enhanced by live and on demand action across all screens to share the inspiration of the Olympic Games with the next generation of passionate fans in Germany,” she added.
Discovery purchased the European TV rights for the Olympic Games between 2018 and 2024 for €1.3 billion in June 2015. The negotiations with previous rights holders ARD and ZDF about sublicences were difficult, mainly regarding the price.
Discovery recently expanded the reach of Eurosport 1 in Germany, for example by terminating the exclusive carriage of Eurosport 1 HD via cable and satellite on the Sky Deutschland platform. The live-stream of Eurosport 1 on the internet, previously part of subscription service Eurosport Player, is now available free-of-charge. With the moves, Discovery wants to ensure broad availability of the channel in Germany.
ARD and ZDF said in a joint statement that they are disappointed about Discovery’s decision to show the Olympic Games only on its own channels and partially on pay-TV, adding that they have tried to obtain sublicences through several firm offers, but the demands by Discovery “exceed by far what we can justify.” If Discovery changes its mind, then the door would be open to recommence discussions, stress ARD and ZDF.