For Eurosport, “the important thing is to win”


The Olympic ideal formulated by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1908 does not apply to sports rights market. In this discipline, the important thing is to win, more than participate. David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery Communications, has understood. The parent Eurosport has put 1.3 billion euros on the table to acquire the European rights to broadcast the next four Olympic Games (OG) (ie the period from 2018 to 2024) and in all media.

The emergence of Eurosport in this market comes to break old balances. So far, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the copyright holder, agreed with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU, a consortium of European broadcasters including the BBC, France Télévisions or German ARD) or directly with these channels. This time, they have been dubbed by a US rival, a giant pay-TV, which generates nearly $ 6 billion (€ 5.4 billion) in revenue per year and spends 2 billion annual euros to the rights and program purchases.

These figures measure the new power of Eurosport, a former possession of TF1 which Discovery has become the majority shareholder in 2014. Besides the financial firepower the chain has played two other advantages: its presence in more than fifty European countries, and its digital development – and service with Eurosport Player

high speed Mutation

The only exceptions to this agreement: Russia and broadcasting rights in France and the United Kingdom (2018 and 2020) already allocated to France Télévisions and the BBC. “We under-treat a portion of rights” , reassured Mr. Zaslav at a press conference Monday, June 29 The IOC imposed 200 hours of programs for the Summer Games and 100 hours for those of winter, are back on the market for free channels. “But it is still necessary to agree on the price,” , advanced Bilalian Daniel, sports director of France Televisions

First lesson of this agreement:. Discovery does not come on the European market to make up the numbers. If Eurosport already affects 220 million citizens, the estimated potential for the Olympics is 700 million. The Old World is the “emerging market” that wants to occupy the American group, as Mr. Zaslav repeated again in May, during a visit at Roland Garros

Second lesson. Market sports rights mutates at high speed. For the first time in its history, the IOC has given the rights of a continent as a whole, and not country by country. As for some movies or series, globalization is on, and it differs from the competition actors national size for the benefit of international networks such as Eurosport or BeIN Sports. In February, the Qatari channel had acquired the rights of the Davis Cup for the whole world. It’s also the competition that TF1 did not want to play, coming out of Eurosport. Participate is useless, you have to win.

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