Discovery invests €40m in sports production technology hub

International media company Discovery has opened a new technology hub in the Dutch city of Hilversum to store and distribute live sporting productions.

Discovery has invested close to €40m ($44.5m) into the hub, which will provide access to a private cloud for sports productions from Discovery’s pan-European sports broadcaster Eurosport.

The hub has opened ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, which Discovery has the rights to across Europe (with the exception of Russia) through a €1.3bn contract that runs from 2018 to 2024.

It is hoped the new site will allow Discovery to develop products on a larger scale and with more flexibility.

Alco de Jong, country manager for Discovery Benelux, said: “The construction of the technology hub in Hilversum is a direct consequence of our strategy to give Eurosport a more local face and to deepen our sports offering. In addition, this state-of-the-art facility provides even more flexibility and gives us the space to serve the passion for sport of Dutch viewers on all platforms, including the [subscription OTT platform] Eurosport Player.”

Last week, Discovery said it was closely following the potential impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Tokyo 2020 amid heightened focus on whether the Games will go ahead as planned.

When asked about the impact of a cancellation on Discovery’s costs and revenues, Gunnar Wiedenfels, the company’s chief financial officer, told investors and analysts: “On this issue we’re monitoring it closely. We are following the IOC’s lead and that’s about all we can do. At this point we’re continuing to prepare for the Olympics and clearly we’re looking internally at scenarios.”

Wiedenfels’ comments came after long-serving International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said that there was a three-month window to decide whether the Games will proceed as planned. But more recently, the IOC said it has a “full commitment” to staying on schedule in Tokyo.