BBC's U.K. Games Rights Deal Adds To IOC's $1B Total Raised In Latest Negotiation Round
The BBC has retained the U.K. broadcast rights for the Olympics through ’20 and the deal is “believed to be worth about” $94M (all figures U.S.), “a ‘modest’ increase on what the corporation pays at the moment but a relatively small increase compared with rises elsewhere in the world,” according to Owen Gibson of the GUARDIAN. In total, it takes the amount “raised by the IOC from its latest round of rights negotiations to more than $1bn in Europe alone.” The IOC was “understood to be concerned about recent cuts to the BBC sports rights budget but entered exclusive negotiations with the corporation after being reassured of its commitment.” The deal is “seen as crucial to maintaining morale” among BBC Sport staffers after the company recently relocated HQs, losing "half of its staff (GUARDIAN, 7/18). In London, Jacquelin Magnay reported that the BBC is understood to "have paid much more" than the $94M it paid for the London Olympic rights. But the BBC had “to fend off rivals who had been in serious discussions with the International Olympic Committee to test the UK Government's protected list of sporting events, which includes all of the Olympic Games.” Sources said that compared to other rights fees the IOC "has extracted around the world, the fee is considered relatively light." The IOC has previously completed ’14 Sochi Games and ’16 Rio Games deals with France for $136M, Germany for $189M, Spain for $104M and Italy for $222M. It has raised $3.6B “across the globe for the next Olympic period, already up on the total raised for the London Games” of $3.9B (London TELEGRAPH, 7/18).
WEIGHING IN: Outgoing BBC General Dir Mark Thompson, who helped negotiate the deal, blogged that the company has “secured one of the last pieces in a portfolio of strategic sports rights which ensure that the BBC remains the UK's most popular sports broadcaster.” The BBC now has “rights arrangements which stretch out for many years and which guarantee that sport will continue to be a central part of the diet of licence-payers across BBC Television, Radio and Online.” Thompson: “So much nonsense has been written about the modern BBC and sport that it's worth spending a moment setting the record straight” (BBC.co.uk, 7/18). IOC VP Thomas Bach said that the U.K. deal “concluded its European rights business for the 2013-16 Olympic cycle comprising of the Sochi and Rio Games” (AP, 7/18).