German broadcasters clinch Olympics rights deal with Discovery


FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German state broadcasters ARD and ZDF have struck a deal with Discovery Communications for the right to show the Olympic Games from 2018 to 2024, after months of tough talks.

ARD did not say on Friday how much the broadcasters were paying to sub-license the rights, but said the deal “takes into account the financial abilities of the public broadcasters”.

U.S.-based Discovery won the European broadcast rights for the Olympics from 2018 to 2024 for 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in 2015, beating national public broadcasters such as the BBC and France Television.

It had been expected to pass on some lucrative rights, but last November ARD and ZDF said they would not show the Olympic Games for the first time, having failed to clinch a deal.

Media reports have said the two sides disagreed on the price of the sub-licence, with ARD and ZDF wanting to pay no more than 100 million euros ($118 million) for the broadcast rights in Germany and Discovery demanding at least 150 million euros.

They said last month that talks had resumed.

ARD said on Friday the broadcasters would not be able to show all events at the Pyeongchang Winter Games live due to the short lead time, saying they would offer only highlights of figure skating, short track speed skating and snowboarding.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan; editing by Alexander Smith

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