BSkyB to show London Games in UK
LONDON, April 3 — British pay TV operator BSkyB will screen live coverage of the London Olympics this summer after the BBC agreed today to make its online feeds available to cable and satellite broadcasters in Britain.
The publicly funded BBC has the rights to the Games and will offer live footage of every Olympic sport for the first time – providing up to 24 simultaneous feeds and allowing viewers to switch between table tennis and hockey.
The BBC will distribute the bulk of these additional channels via its website but they will now also be shown on television in Sky's 10 million subscription households.
The news will be a boost to television manufacturers for whom major events like the Olympics and the Euro 2012 soccer tournament are a great platform to showcase new products.
The Games, which run from July 27-Aug 12, will also be closely watched by media groups to see how viewing divides between TV, home computers, tablets and other mobile devices.
“The aim is that you'd be able to pick from watching BBC Olympics 1 right through to BBC Olympics 24 with full programme guides and the ability to record your favourite sports,” said Roger Mosey, BBC director of London 2012.
“Many of those discussions are still continuing, but the BBC, Sky and Freesat have announced today that they've come to an agreement that will deliver the 24 channels to all Sky homes,” he added on his blog.
“Sky will also pick up the costs of satellite distribution, irrespective of whether other platforms join in – though we hope and believe there'll be more announcements soon,” he added.
BSkyB is not paying for the rights and all of the coverage and commentary will come from the BBC. BSkyB will incur some costs as it upgrades its systems to accommodate the additional channels – 48 in total when high definition is taken into account.
“We're delighted that every single Sky home will have the opportunity to enjoy unprecedented coverage of the biggest UK sporting event in a generation,” said Stephen van Rooyen, Managing Director of Sky's Sales and Marketing Group.
The BBC has shown every Olympic Games since London last hosted the event in 1948.
BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is the largest shareholder, has grown its business on the back of buying rights to major sports like the English Premier League and more recently, Formula One motor racing.
The Olympics are a “listed event” – meaning they have to be made available to free-to-air broadcasters.. — Reuters