The BBC has won the rights to cover the next four summer and winter Olympic Games up to 2020 after signing a new deal with the International Olympics Committee (IOC).
The deal will include exclusive TV, radio and digital rights for the next two summer Olympics in Rio (2016) and the 2020 Games, as well as the next two winter Olympic Games in Sochi (2014) and Pyeongchang (2018).
Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid are the three candidate host cities for the 2020 Games, with the IOC due to make its selection in on 7 September 2013 in Buenos Aires.
Rio 2016 and the 2020 Olympics will represent the 16th and 17th Summer Olympic Games broadcast by the BBC, a sequence that began with the 1948 Games in London and one that has run unbroken since the 1960 Games in Rome, Italy.
In total, the BBC will have broadcast 33 Olympic Games after the 2020 Games, including the 16 Winter Olympics since Squaw Valley, California, USA, also in 1960.
Outgoing BBC director-general Mark Thompson said: “I’m delighted that the Olympic Games will continue to be broadcast exclusively on the BBC into the 2020s.
“It’s terrific news in the days before BBC Sport begins to cover the London 2012 Games and a tribute to the enduring partnership between the BBC and the Olympic movement.”
Read Mark Thompson’s blog on the BBC’s Olympics deal HERE
IOC president Jacques Rogge previously declared that “everything is possible” when it comes to selling UK TV rights for the Games after London, which raised the prospect of the BBC losing some or all of its coverage of the event.
The IOC sought to maximise the value of the Olympic TV rights since turning its back on a deal with the European Broadcasting Union in 2008, through which the BBC held the rights for the 2010 Vancouver Games and London 2012 as part of a £450m pan-European agreement.
Commenting on the new BBC deal, Rogge said: ‘As the host of the London 2012 Olympic Games and the birthplace of many Olympic sports, the UK is a very important nation for the Olympic Movement.
‘The BBC is a world-renowned media organisation with which we are proud to have worked for many decades, including for the upcoming Olympic Games.
“We are delighted that the BBC will continue as our partner beyond London 2012, providing fantastic free coverage of the Olympic Games to the widest possible audience in the UK across a variety of media platforms.’
Despite operating on a reduced budget for sports rights in the wake of the licence fee freeze, the BBC beat off strong competition for the Olympic rights from BSkyB, which had been in serious discussions with the IOC over a shared deal.
Dominic Coles, chief operating officer for the 2012 Olympics at the BBC, who negotiated the deal, said: “It’s vital that big national and international events like the Olympic Games remain free-to-air where they can be watched by the greatest number of people.
“We’re delighted to continue our longstanding partnership with the Olympics and the IOC, adding to BBC Sport’s outstanding rights portfolio and firmly establishing the BBC as the home of major sporting events that unite the nation and this deal demonstrates that BBC Sport remains a force in sports broadcasting.”
For the first time at this summer’s London 2012 Olympic Games, the BBC will be providing live coverage of every Olympic Sport from every venue throughout the day.
This will amount to around 2,500 hours of live Olympic sporting action, over 1,000 hours more than Beijing 2008.
Barbara Slater, Director, BBC Sport, said: “This news will come as a massive boost to our teams who are about to undertake our most ambitious sports broadcast ever at the biggest sporting event in our country’s history.
“The Olympic Games has always been significant as an event that brings the nation together as well as a catalyst for broadcasting innovation and we’re delighted that BBC Sport can now continue to deliver on these traditions through to 2020.”