RTE loses the rights to the Olympics
Eurosport will the new host broadcaster of the Olympics following a €1.3billion deal announced today.
Eurosport has committed to broadcasting only 200 hours of summer Olympics and 100 hours of winter Games on free-to-air television and says in many territories it will sub-license these back to a terrestrial broadcaster.
RTE, or one of the other domestic free-to-air channels here, will have to bid to get the sub-licence rights to the Winter and Summer games from 2018.
"While RTÉ is disappointed at this announcement, it is too early to say definitively that RTÉ won’t broadcast the Olympics in 2020 and 2024. It should be noted that rights to Rio 2016 were bought by RTÉ through a third party agency when the EBU failed in its bid for those games and that Discovery Channel have said today that they will ‘sub-license a portion of the rights in many markets across Europe’" read a statement sent to Independent.ie.
"Under the Broadcasting Act 2009, The Summer Olympics are listed as a Designated Major Event which must be shown free-to-air in this territory.
"RTÉ will make every effort to secure the rights for the Summer Olympic Games in 2020 and 2024 so that Irish viewers can watch home-produced, relevant coverage of Irish athletes competing both in Tokyo in 2020 and at the 2024 Summer games – something that all countries would lose in the event of pan-European coverage.
"RTÉ remains optimistic that a solution can be found and in the meantime we look forward to bringing Irish viewers comprehensive free-to-air coverage of next summer’s Olympic games in Rio."
Announcing the new TV deal, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said: "This is a significant agreement for Discovery and the IOC, and we are excited to have Eurosport, the pan-European home of Olympic sports, as a partner.
"This agreement ensures comprehensive coverage of the Olympic Games across Europe, including the guarantee to provide extensive free-to-air television coverage in all territories.
"The revenue generated from this long-term partnership will be redistributed by the IOC across the Olympic movement to support the development of sport around the world."
RTE holds the rights to the 2016 Games in Rio but where, and how much, coverage we can watch in the future is now uncertain.
The BBC have rights up to 2020, so Irish viewers with access to their channels will be able to watch the 2020 Games with them.