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YLE keeps hold of Olympics in Discovery sublicensing deal

PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 24: Iivo Niskanen of Finland celebrates during the Cross-Country Men's 50km Mass Start at Alpensia Cross-Country Centre (Photo by Michel Cottin/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Finnish public-service broadcaster YLE has sublicensed selected free-to-air and radio rights to the 2022 and 2024 Olympic Games from international media group Discovery.

YLE had previously sublicensed rights to the 2018 and 2020 editions of the Olympic Games from Discovery, following the media group’s €1.3bn ($1.44bn) acquisition of Olympics broadcast rights in Europe (excluding Russia) from 2018 to 2024.

As with YLE’s current agreement with Discovery for the 2018 Games, the new deal will not include rights to either the Finnish women’s or men’s ice hockey matches at the 2022 Games, which will be held in Beijing. Discovery will continue to broadcast these matches exclusively in the country.

For the 2024 Games in Paris, Discovery will retain exclusive rights to two events that are yet to be selected, however it has been determined that these events will not include athletics. At this year’s Tokyo 2020 Games, Discovery will exclusively broadcast coverage from the aquatics and basketball events.

For the 2014 and 2016 Games, YLE acquired all rights from the Sportfive agency.

In the new agreement, YLE will provide two simultaneous feeds of the 2022 Games, whilst for the 2024 Games it will provide three.

Commenting on the deal, Panu Pokkinen, director of sports and events at YLE, said: “The Olympics are one of the most important sports events for Finns. It’s great that YLE has the opportunity to continue working with Discovery. Together we can make sure that the Olympic content is in the best possible way for Finns to watch freely”

The deal in Finland follow on from Discovery’s deal last month in the Czech Republic with public-service broadcaster Česká Televize.

Through its agreement with the International Olympic Committee, Discovery must ensure that a minimum of 100 hours of winter Olympics coverage and 200 hours of summer Olympics coverage is broadcast on its own free-to-air channels or through sublicensing agreements.