Why isn’t Rai broadcast the Olympics live? That’s the question a lot of fans are asking themselves these days during the Tokyo Olympics.
The event is in fact broadcast entirely live only on Discovery channels, and therefore on the Discovery+ and Eurosport Player platforms. In fact, Discovery bought the television rights to the Olympics from 2018 to 2024 in 2015, signed an agreement with the International Olympic Committee for a total amount of 1.3 billion euros and promised, in relation to individual countries, to broadcast at least 200 hours live on public networks. .
Thus, the discovery continued in individual treatment in individual countries to take it free to the air. In Italy, for example, it is necessary to clearly broadcast the Summer and Winter Olympics, as defined by Agcom which draws up “a list of events considered to be of particular interest to the company, which TV broadcasters under Italian jurisdiction cannot broadcast exclusively and only in a format codified, in order to ensure that at least 80% of the Italian population has the opportunity to follow them on a free schedule at no additional cost.”
Among these, as mentioned, is the emergence of the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, par excellence: while Italy’s matches in the World Cup and the European Football Championship must be broadcast live for free “for other events. It is up to the television broadcasters to decide the ways of free broadcasting, which may be live or integrated, partial, deferred in whole or in part.
Thus, in 2019 Rai reached an agreement with Discovery to broadcast 200 hours of the Olympic Games, but on a single Olympic channel (Rai 2) and without being able to broadcast live events on its Raiplay platform. Motives? Saving about 20 million euros.
In 2019, Il Sole 24 Ore explained that rai He would have paid about 40 million for the 200 hour package, but with an extra 20 million or so He could have had more transmission hours (we are talking about another 100 hours and exclusive radio rights) but above all the common ownership of digital rights, thus also transmitting the contents on Raiplay. Money that, however, public television chose not to invest.
However, the controversy wasn’t just about Rai. In the United Kingdom, for example, the BBC came under fire: in its agreement with Discovery, the BBC extracted more advantageous terms in terms of broadcasting events, with the ability to broadcast more than 350 hours of live Olympics on two channels (BBC One and BBC Two). ) and the ability to stream races on BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, the BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport app.
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