South Korean pay-television broadcaster JTBC may be close to a deal with the International Olympic Committee about broadcast rights, potentially including a momentous 2032 Olympics jointly hosted by North and South Korea, SportBusiness Media understands.
The IOC rejected in April an offer from the ‘Korea Pool’, the consortium of free-to-air broadcasters that has historically acquired the rights. The Korea Pool’s rights fee offer is understood to have been below what the IOC was hoping.
The IOC declined to comment when contacted by SportBusiness Media.
JTBC would be a surprise buyer of the rights given the Pool’s long tradition of broadcasting the Olympics. The pool comprises the country’s most established broadcasters – KBS, MBC and SBS – all of which operate both free-to-air and pay-television channels. JTBC launched in 2011, and has several pay-television channels, including a sports channel run in partnership with the international network broadcaster Fox.
Officials from North and South Korea presented the joint hosting plan to the IOC in February, according to UK newspaper the Guardian. It would involve both capital cities, Seoul and Pyongyang, hosting events. The plan relies on a successful outcome to ongoing political talks for peace between the two countries, which are technically still at war.
After the plan was presented, the IOC came to market to discuss a media rights deal covering the Olympics from 2026 through to 2032. Details of the offer are not known, but it presumably has contingencies based on whether the 2032 Olympics are indeed hosted in Korea.
Korea Pool member SBS is the current Olympics rights-holder in South Korea, in a deal covering 2018 to 2024 agreed in 2011.