Discovery is betting on its €1.3 billion deal securing broadcast rights to the Olympic Games to lure subscribers to its new streaming service, Discovery Plus, which launched this week in the US and a number of European countries.

The big difference: Discovery’s strategy will use the summer Olympics as Disney+ used the Mandalorian. But live sport is riskier and tougher to convert into growth than original IP.

  • Discovery-owned Eurosport has secured exclusive rights to broadcast the world’s most watched sporting event, in Europe, through to 2024. The Olympics take place every two years, with Summer and Winter events each held every four years.
  • The move represents a fairly new strategy in the battle for viewers among the streaming giants, with Discovery’s rivals, Disney, Apple and Netflix, so far avoiding any bidding for sports rights. Only Amazon has looked to a limited number of live games, from the NFL in the US, and the Premier League in the UK, to grow its subscriber base.
  • Discovery’s launch comes as it announces a multi-year deal with Vodafone making Discovery Plus and Discovery content available to Vodafone’s 100 million-plus subscribers in the UK and 11 European markets, Variety reports.

Key quote

“The Olympics is one of the broadest opportunities to bring on a really large cohort of people on to Discovery Plus . . . people that will want to see and stay on with us beyond the Olympics.” Andrew Georgiou, president of Eurosport.

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Sourced from the Financial Times, Variety