Eurosport finalises Tokyo 2020 rights deal in France

Tokyo 2020 Olympics One Year to Go celebrations (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Eurosport, the Discovery-owned sports broadcaster, has acquired pay-television rights in France for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in a sublicensing deal with pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus and public-service broadcaster France Télévisions.

As reported by SportBusiness Media last month, Canal Plus is sublicensing the rights in order to cut costs. The pay-television operator acquired the rights for Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 from France Télévisions in a sublicensing deal in 2015.

L’Équipe reported that Canal Plus wants to avoid costs related to production, the creation of the extra channels, and having to send a large editorial team to an Olympics that will take place in an unfavourable time zone.

France Télévisions acquired fully exclusive rights for the Olympics from 2014 to 2020 in a deal agreed in 2011. This meant the rights in France to PyeongChang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 were excluded from Discovery’s €1.3bn ($ 1.4bn) landmark pan-European deal for rights for the Olympics from 2018 to 2024. The latter deal means that Eurosport already has rights in France for Beijing 2022 and Paris 2024. Discovery has sublicensed the free-to-air rights to these two games to France Télévisions.

France Télévisions will remain the official free-to-air broadcaster in France for Tokyo 2020.

After landing the Olympics rights in the deal with France Télévisions in 2015, Canal Plus went on to showcase its coverage from Rio 2016 across eight channels, including the dedicated ‘Canal+ Rio’ channel, and offered close to 800 hours of live content.

However, the Olympics are now not likely to be seen by Canal Plus a key driver of new subscriptions, unlike leading domestic or international football properties.

Canal Plus has aired action from every summer Olympics since 1992, with the exception being London 2012. During those games, France Télévisions and BeIN Sports shared the rights as the Qatar-backed subscription broadcaster launched in the French market. Free-to-air commercial network TF1 also showed the opening and closing ceremonies live.