BBC Faces Free-To-Air Fight To Keep U.K. Olympic TV Rights
IOC President Jacques Rogge opened the post-London Olympic TV rights in the U.K. beyond the BBC to other broadcasters and telecommunications companies, according to Jacquelin Magnay of the London TELEGRAPH. A deal is "likely to be struck" just before the July 27 opening ceremony. Negotiations for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics "have been a lengthy process with the BBC, which struck a bargain" £60M ($94M) rights deal for the London Olympics. The IOC has already "stitched up broadcast deals across most of the major markets," with the U.K. tender following just days after the Premier League rights were sold to Sky and BT for a record £3B ($4.7B) three-year price. Olympic officials believe a "similar tie-in between a pay-TV network and a free-to-air station" may alleviate the U.K. government’s current requirement that Olympic coverage, "as one of the sporting crown jewels," must be shown entirely on free-to-air (TELEGRAPH, 6/15).