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Spanish Olympic Committee backs calls for Government to fund RTVE bid

The Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) has backed calls for the country’s government to fund public broadcaster TVE’s bid for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics rights.

According to reports in Spain, the COE has written to Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez encouraging the Spanish government to follow through with its pledge to provide funding which would allow the Olympics to be shown on a free-to-air platform.

It has been reported that the government is willing to provide €60m ($66.7m) to help cover the rights acquisition and programming costs.

Earlier this week, Rosa María Mateo, sole provisional administrator at parent group RTVE, said that the Olympics were a “priority” for the broadcaster, but that RTVE’s budget required the government’s backing to bid for the rights. She said that the RTVE budget does not currently contain the resources necessary to meet the costs of broadcasting the Olympics.

Pan-European sports broadcaster Discovery holds the International Olympic Committee rights across Europe (excluding Russia) and has sub-licensed the free-to-air rights on to national broadcasters. Those rights were acquired as part of a seven-year deal between 2018 and 2024, worth €1.3bn and covering 50 territories across the continent and included the rights to FTA, subscription/pay-television, internet and mobile phone in all languages.

At the beginning of that deal in 2018, Discovery elected to retain the exclusive rights in Spain to the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, rather than sell them on to a free-to-air broadcaster in Spain after failing to receive a satisfactory bid.

Those rights were exploited on its general entertainment channel, DMAX, which offered up to seven hours of coverage per day with a focus on Spanish athletes in the competition.