The IOC has announced that all media rights in Europe for the four Olympic Games in the 2026 to 2032 period have been awarded to the EBU and Warner Bros. Discovery ©Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that all media rights in Europe for the four Olympic Games in the 2026 to 2032 period have been awarded to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Warner Bros. Discovery.

The deal marks a return for EBU, an alliance of public service media organisations in Europe, who had first broadcast the Olympic Games in 1956 in Melbourne.

They had been defeated by Discovery in a controversial auction in 2015. 

Discovery Communications had eight-years ago signed a pan-European deal covering two Olympic cycles up to and including Paris 2024.

This was said to be worth €1.3 billion (£1.1 billion/$1.5 billion).

Discovery subsequently sub-licenced the rights to public services broadcasters. 

The EBU consortium had headed into this latest broadcast rights sales process, launched last February, with a greater "unity of purpose" around the rights and combined digital prowess, Glen Killane, executive director of Eurovision Sport, the EBU’s sports arm, had said at the time.

For this latest deal, the EBU and Warner Bros. Discovery presented a joint bid to acquire all media rights across 49 territories in Europe for the 2026 Winter and 2028 Summer Olympic Games in Milan-Cortina and Los Angeles, respectively.

It also includes the 2032 Olympic Games in Brisbane and the 2030 Winter edition, which has yet to be awarded. 

It also covers the Youth Olympic Games in the period.

Starting in 2026, the EBU will hold free-to-air rights on television and digital platforms. 

Unlike the deal with Discovery in 2015, this agreement covers France and the United Kingdom, who had negotiated their own agreements.

But Russia, which was also not part of the 2015 deal, are also not included this time as, along with Belarus, as they are currently suspended by the EBU.

"I’m delighted we’ve been able to secure the media rights for the next four editions of the Olympic Games on behalf of our public service media members," EBU director general Noel Curran said.

"It means we can guarantee everyone, everywhere has access to the sports they love, wherever they are and whenever they want to watch, free-to-air until 2032. 

"We believe the greatest sporting moments shouldn't just be available to those that can afford to pay to view. 

"Over two-thirds of sports fans don’t have access to premium sport channels, meaning they’re excluded. 

"And that’s why public service media is the natural home for Olympic sports."

Every EBU member will broadcast more than 200 hours of coverage of the Olympic Summer Games and at least 100 hours of the Olympic Winter Games on television, with a broad range of radio coverage, live streaming and reporting across web, app and social media platforms.

"We are delighted to have reached a long-term agreement with two of the world’s leading media companies," said IOC President Thomas Bach. 

"The EBU and its members provide unparalleled broadcast expertise and reach across Europe, and Warner Bros. Discovery, through the recent combination of Warner Media and Discovery, represents one of the world’s largest media and entertainment companies across all programming genres and platforms. 

"It demonstrates the ongoing appeal of the Olympic Games across Europe. 

"As the IOC redistributes 90 per cent of the revenues it generates, this long-term agreement also provides critical financial stability to the wider sporting movement and ultimately supports the athletes themselves."

Warner Bros. Discovery will be able to continue to market itself as the
Warner Bros. Discovery will be able to continue to market itself as the "Home of the Olympics" in Europe after signing a joint deal for the 2026-2032 rights with the EBU ©Getty Images

For Warner Bros. Discovery, today’s announcement extends its position as "Home of the Olympics in Europe" and follows record audiences and digital viewership growth in the past three Olympic Games, with Paris 2024 ahead. 

Under the new agreement, it will continue to be the only place to present "every moment" of the Games on its streaming and digital platforms, such as its leading sports and entertainment streaming service discovery+, and hold full pay-TV rights, including for its owned and operated Eurosport channels.

"As the 'Home of the Olympics in Europe' for the last three Olympic Games, we are pleased to be extending our relationship with the IOC through 2032," Andrew Georgiou, President and managing director for Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe, said. 

"Ahead of what promises to be a magnificent Olympic Games Paris 2024, we are delighted that Warner Bros. Discovery will remain the only place where fans can get every moment of the following four Olympics

"We are grateful to be partnering with the EBU and its members on the next stage of our Olympic journey, extending our commitment made together with the IOC in 2015 to reach more people through broad-reaching and accessible coverage. 

"Viewers throughout Europe will continue to have extensive choice and the ability to access the Games across multiple platforms, setting an outstanding foundation to build on the record audience and engagement delivered for Europe for the past three Games."