New broadcaster promises year-round buzz

Sun Jan 1, 2017 7:49am EST
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By Ossian Shine

LONDON (Reuters) - Fans of the Olympics can expect the spirit of the Games to remain aflame all year round, not just during the sporting extravaganzas, the man now responsible for broadcasting both the Summer and Winter events to hundreds of millions of viewers across Europe told Reuters.

"We can make this a year-round experience... because of all the broadcast rights we have to Olympic sports," Eurosport CEO Peter Hutton said in an interview.

"We promised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) we would keep the brand alive all year round."

Eurosport, through parent company Discovery Communications, bought the exclusive multimedia rights to broadcasting the Olympics in some 50 countries and territories in Europe in a 1.3 billion Euros ($1.37 billion) deal which begins on Jan. 1 and takes them through to the 2024 Olympic Games.

Discovery own the rights across all platforms, including free-to-air television, subscription/pay-TV television, internet and mobile phone in all languages. However, consistent with IOC and local market requirements, Discovery has committed to broadcasting a minimum of 200 hours of the Olympic Games and 100 hours of the Olympic Winter Games on free-to-air television during the Games period, and will sub-license a portion of the rights in many markets across Europe.

Hutton says this eight-year contract is just the start of a deal which he says offers much to both parties.

"For us, the Olympic Games is about changing from what Eurosport used to be, to what we are trying to be," Hutton said of the broadcaster which has grown from modest roots in 1989 to rival the biggest sports broadcasters globally.

"The Games, and these memorable moments...they give us a sense of purpose.   Continued...

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach waves the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, Jiangsu province August 28, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song