German pubcasters fail to secure Olympics deal with Discovery

David Zaslav

David Zaslav

German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF have failed to secure a deal with Discovery to air coverage of the Olympic Games from 2018-2024.

Discovery will make coverage of the games available free-to-view on its Eurosport channel.

The broadcaster said that its Eurosport 1 channel in Germany would offer the country “every moment of national importance” on free-to-air TV. Additional coverage will be available on Discovery’s German free-to-air channel DMAX. Pay TV channel Eurosport 2 will feature additional exclusive coverage, while additional content will be available via an all-access pass on multiple platforms.

“Building on the strong legacy of the past, our extensive free to air coverage will be enhanced by live and on demand action across all screens to share the inspiration of the Olympic Games with the next generation of passionate fans in Germany,” said Susanne Aigner-Drews, SVP and general manager, Discovery Networks Germany.

“As the world’s number one storyteller, Discovery is particularly excited that we will be working closely with the German Olympic Sports Confederation and the National Federations to bring to life the incredible stories of German Olympians as they strive towards their ultimate goal.” 

Eurosport is available free-to-air in Germany, and will air coverage of the Games in the country in excess of the requirements for free-to-air coverage imposed by the International Olympic Committee, the broadcaster said.

ZDF director Thomas Bellut noted “with great regret” that Discovery now intended to air coverage of the Olympics exclusively on its own channels and partly on pay TV. He said that the price demanded by Discovery to sub-license the rights was too high, but added without being specific that coverage of the Olympics would continue to be an important part of the pubcaster’s channels’ programming.

According to local press, the German public broadcasters were prepared to offer a maximum of €100 million to sub-license the rights to the Pyeongchang Winter Games in 2018 and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, while Discovery was seeking an estimated €150 million.

Discovery CEO and president David Zaslav outlined plans to make Eurosport the “Netflix of sports” after the broadcaster’s most recent quarterly financial results were reported.




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