WBD secures non-exclusive rights to World Athletics Championship 2023

Warner Bros. Discovery has agreed a deal with World Athletics rights-holders Eurovision Sport and ESPN to broadcast the 2023 World Athletics Championship in Budapest on its channels. The deal means that the nine-day event will feature on Eurosport 1, Eurosport 2, the Eurosport app and Discovery+ on a non-exclusive basis.

Sebastian Coe

Warner Bros. Discovery VP, sports rights acquisitions and syndication Trojan Paillot said: “We are proud to be a trusted partner to federations across a range of sports. Through our channels and platforms, we possess an unmatched ability to scale coverage to the widest possible audience through our broad international reach and platform availability, offering more ways for viewers to engage with sports they love.”

The flagship athletics event is likely to attract a lot of attention as top talent prepares for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said: “Eurosport has a long tradition of offering outstanding athletics coverage and this agreement will be welcomed by our fans across Europe, as it will give them even more opportunities to watch of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23. I have no doubt this deal will help us to deliver on our strategy for growing the sport.”

The deal is interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because the rights are held by the European Broadcasting Union’s Eurovision Sport and Disney+-owned ESPN – which means WBD is effectively licensing rights from a streaming rival. Secondly, because the deal is non-exclusive – which may suggest a shift in the way streamers are thinking strategically about the role of live sport in their content mix.

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