France Télévisions could forgo rights to the country’s home Olympic Games in 2024 over costs, according to reports.
French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche has detailed plans for a substantial cut to France Télévisions’ sports budget, amid wider belt-tightening efforts at the public-service broadcaster.
The JDD said France Télévisions’ annual sports budget of €230m ($266.5m) is set to be cut by seven to eight per cent. It added that the broadcaster is not ruling out the possibility of simply giving up on rights to the 2024 summer Olympic Games, which will be held in Paris, due to the high price expected to be demanded by rights-holder, media and entertainment company Discovery Communications.
Discovery holds the exclusive multimedia rights for 50 countries and territories in Europe for the Olympic Games spanning 2018 through to 2024, under a deal signed with the International Olympic Committee in June 2015. The contract applies to the 2022 and 2024 Games only in France.
A France Télévisions spokesperson later told French news agency AFP: “We do not want to give up the Olympics but without (clarity) on budget and visibility on public broadcasting in the medium term, we cannot consider any financial proposal on these rights.”
France Télévisions is the IOC’s long-time rights partner in France, although commercial broadcaster TF1 did broadcast part of the 1996 Games in Atlanta and the opening and closing ceremonies from London 2012.
The JDD also said France Télévisions could seek to give up certain exclusive sports rights such as domestic club football competitions the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue. However, it added that it is keen to retain rights to cycling’s Tour de France and the French Open tennis grand slam.