Discovery may look to bid for top-tier European sports rights for Eurosport if it can strike partnerships with other media groups, but will adopt a wait and see attitude before committing itself to moving beyond the pan-European channel’s focus on second-level sports, according to Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav.
In an appearance at the FT Digital Media conference in London that gave relatively little away, Zaslav said that Eurosport, in which Discovery has fast-tracked an option to raise its previous 20% ownership stake to 51%, is bigger in Europe than ESPN is in the US.
He said that going after premium sports rights might make sense in a joint effort with a partner but declined to be more specific.
Zaslav has previously said that he plans to deepen Eurosport’s local presence in key markets, possibly by acquiring local content rights in partnership with distribution platforms.
At the FT confernence, Zaslav declined to comment on Discovery’s reported interest in acquiring commercial terrestrial broadcaster Channel 5 in the UK, beyond noting that positioning assets for sale did not always result in a deal being closed.