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Česká Televize retains Olympics rights with extra hours secured

Pavel Francouz #33 of the Czech Republic in action at PyeongChang 2018 (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Czech public broadcaster Česká Televize will continue its long-running coverage of the Olympics after negotiating the acquisition of sublicensed rights to the 2022 winter Games in Beijing and the 2024 summer Games in Paris.

Rights-holder Discovery reached an agreement to sell on free-to-air rights to Česká Televize, which has aired every Olympics since 1956 and will continue to show coverage on its CT Sport channel.

Discovery has retained pay-television rights to showcase the action across its Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2 linear television channels, along with subscription OTT platform Eurosport Player. Discovery said that it will offer dedicated streams covering “every sport, every event and every gold medal”.

Petr Dvořák, chief executive of Česká Televize, revealed that, compared to the 2018-20 cycle, the broadcaster has managed to negotiate an increase in the “permitted transmission hours”.

He noted that the deal with Discovery was struck after “long negotiations”.

In its existing agreement with Discovery, Česká Televize negotiated the right to show at least 200 hours from PyeongChang 2018, a figure that is double the minimum stipulated by the International Olympic Committee. As part of its agreement with the IOC, Discovery must ensure that the winter games receive at least 100 hours of free-to-air coverage and at least double that sum for the summer games.

Discovery continues to agree new sublicensing deals as it looks to refinance its €1.3bn ($1.44bn) acquisition of Olympics broadcast rights in Europe from 2018 to 2024. The rights agreement, which was announced in June 2015, excludes Russia (and France and the UK for 2018-20).

Česká Televize bought free-to-air rights to the Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 games from Sportfive, the agency distributing rights to those games across Europe. Up until London 2012, the Czech broadcaster held Olympics rights through its membership of the European Broadcasting Union.

Rights to the 2014 and 2016 Olympics were also acquired by Czech pay-television broadcaster Nova as part of the coverage moved away from public television for the first time in the central European country. Nova also secured the rights to show one discipline from Sochi 2014 on a free-to-air basis.

Commenting on the new agreement in the Czech Republic, Andrew Georgiou, president of Eurosport and global sports rights and sports marketing solutions, said: “Discovery has made great strides in striking agreements with Europe’s biggest national broadcasters for the next Olympic Games cycle. Eurosport will be the only destination to show every moment of the Olympics and our partnership with Česká Televize will bring a complementary free-to-air presence to viewers in the Czech Republic.

“When considered alongside Eurosport’s digital and social partnerships for distribution and content, such agreements demonstrate how we are well on track to engage more people, on more screens, with the Games than ever before in Europe.”