ARD, ZDF and Eurosport have secured the media exploitation rights to the Summer and Winter Olympics from 2026 to 2032. This was announced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday. The IOC has therefore awarded the rights for Europe to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Warner Bros. Discovery. Both participated in the IOC tender with a joint offer for 49 European territories.
ARD and ZDF are part of the EBU, which is an association of public service broadcasters in Europe. As such, they will hold the rights for extensive use across all television and digital offerings from 2026 onwards. Warner Bros. Discovery acquires the pay-TV rights and can exploit the Olympic Games in its streaming and digital offers as well as on the free-TV broadcaster Eurosport.
The new agreement covers the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo, the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, the 2030 Olympic Winter Games, for which a venue has not yet been determined, and the 2032 Summer Olympics in Brisbane. The Youth Olympic Games during this period are also included.
With the acquisition of the free-to-air rights from 2026, the free broadcasting of the games via the EBU is guaranteed. Every EBU member will report more than 200 hours about the Summer Olympics and at least 100 hours about the Winter Olympics on TV, according to an ARD announcement. In addition, comprehensive reporting on all digital playout channels and on the radio is planned.
IOC President Thomas Bach (69) was pleased with the "long-term agreement with two of the world's leading media companies". This shows the "enduring appeal" of the Olympic Games across Europe. 90 percent of IOC revenue would be "redistributed" so the agreement would support the "broader sport movement" and "ultimately the athletes themselves".
ZDF director Norbert Himmler (51) and ARD sports rights director Tom Buhrow (64) both emphasized the importance of "sporting diversity" for public broadcasting. "No other sporting event represents this more than the Olympic Games," said Buhrow.