The Olympics will remain on the BBC until at least 2032 after a new agreement with rightsholders guarantees wider free coverage by broadcasters across Europe.
The company’s deal, which guarantees the same 500 hours of TV coverage and a maximum of two live events as its current deal, was struck with new joint rights holders, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and American pay-TV company Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD).
“This partnership ensures that the British public will continue to have free access to the Olympic Games for the next decade,” said BBC Sports Director Barbara Slater. “The BBC’s ability to bring the nation together is unparalleled and this new contract gives sports fans a comprehensive and compelling live and on-demand offering.”
The deal will cover the broadcast rights for the Summer Games in Los Angeles in 2028 and Brisbane in 2032, and the Winter Games in Milan Cortina in 2026 and an unnamed host city in 2030.
The new sub-licensing agreement follows the International Olympic Committee’s award of European Olympic rights covering 49 territories to the EBU and WBD, following a competitive bidding process.
European public service broadcasters are hoping the new joint rights deal will mean wider coverage than many have been able to get in sub-licensing deals struck under the existing £920m deal covering 2018 to 2024, which the IOC has concluded exclusively with WBD, the owner of Eurosport, Discovery and the Discovery+ streaming service.
In some markets, such as Norway and Sweden, WBD moved all Olympic coverage to its own free-to-air services, and in the UK it could also have considered a deal with ITV, Channel 4 or Channel 5 instead of the BBC .
The deal WBD eventually reached with the BBC at the time saw the company lose the right to broadcast thousands of hours of the Olympics on television and prevented it from offering dozens of live streams of events that gave viewers full coverage. WBD broadcast 3,500 hours of coverage in the UK.
The BBC said the new deal, which runs from 2026, retains the same broadcast and digital rights as its existing deal.
“We are proud to have ensured free broadcasting of the Olympic Games until 2032,” said Delphine Ernotte Cunci, President of the EBU and Director General of France Télévisions. “This agreement is a game-changer for public service media. Through its members, the EBU has the potential to reach over a billion viewers across Europe via linear and non-linear platforms. This will ensure that the Games will be accessible to the widest possible audience across Europe.
While this means that all public service broadcasters in Europe will be guaranteed to be able to show the Olympics, the guarantees are not for global coverage.
The EBU said the new agreement stipulates that each member broadcaster will be able to show approximately 200 hours of the Summer Games and 100 hours of the Winter Games on television, with “a wide range of radio coverage, live broadcast and reporting on the web, app and social media platforms”.
WBD said that after the new broadcast rights deal begins in 2026, its platforms “will remain the only place fans can enjoy every moment of the next four Olympics.”