Late winter Olympics TV rights deal struck in Macedonia
Viewers in Macedonia will be able to watch live coverage of this month’s winter Olympic Games on public-service television after a sub-licensing agreement was struck with Discovery Communications, the media group that owns Eurosport, just days before the action starts.
MRT, the Macedonian public broadcaster, has announced that it will show 150 hours of coverage from PyeongChang on its two main channels after reaching an accord that also includes rights to the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Following what it described as “lengthy and exhaustive” negotiations with Discovery, MRT said that it plans to air live coverage between 2am and 3.30pm, including events in Alpine skiing, ice hockey, ice skating, ski jumping, biathlon and Nordic combined.
MRT said: “The agreement that ensures MRT will broadcast the summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 was concluded just three days before the start of the PyeongChang games, primarily due to the price of television rights, far higher than the price of the previous Olympics.
“However, Macedonian Radio Television made every effort and managed to create favorable conditions, on the basis of which will be the main promoter of Olympic and the Olympic movement in the country.”
Discovery, which holds Olympics rights across Europe (excluding Russia) from 2018 to 2024 in a €1.3-billion ($1.6-billion) agreement, has sub-licensed rights to the PyeongChang games in most of Europe, retaining exclusive rights in Norway, Sweden and Spain.
In its sub-licensing agreements, Discovery has retained the rights to showcase extensive coverage in each country across its own channels, including Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2 (plus the Eurosport Player OTT service).
MRT broadcast the Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 games after acquiring rights from the Lagardère-owned Sportfive agency, and held rights to the games before that through its membership of the European Broadcasting Union.
Macedonia was one of a handful of countries in which sub-licensing deals had not yet been announced.
A deal has also now appears to have been agreed with BHRT in Bosnia and Herzegovina, after it was reported that the public-service broadcaster’s steering board had approved the acquisition of rights to the PyeongChang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 games.
BHRT has also published a promotional video to flag up its coverage from the winter Olympics.