The BBC is to remain United Kingdom's free to air Olympic broadcaster until 2024 ©Getty Images

The BBC will remain the free to air Olympic broadcaster in the United Kingdom for the next five Games after striking a deal with Discovery Communications over sub-licensing rights.

The agreement comes after Discovery signed a contract with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last June, which will see their pan-European television sports network Eurosport become the continent's Olympic broadcaster.

While this deal will come into effect across the majority of Europe from 2018, the BBC already held the rights to broadcast the Pyeongchang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with Eurosport taking over for Beijing 2022.

However, Discovery will now provide the BBC with exclusive free-to-air audio-visual and non-exclusive radio rights to the 2022 and 2024 Olympic Games.

The BBC will then sub-licence their coverage for the 2018 and 2020 Olympic Games to Discovery, giving them exclusive pay-TV rights to broadcast action on Eurosport.

“Since the announcement of our partnership with the IOC, it has been Discovery’s goal to engage and entertain local audiences in Europe with the ultimate Olympic Games experience across all screens," said JB Perrette, President of Discovery Networks International.

“To realise this ambition, we will leverage our portfolio of pay-TV, free-to-air and digital services, and collaborate with the very best partners who share this vision – the BBC partnership embodies this perfectly."

Discovery claim the agreement, which is the first Olympic Games sub-licensing deal they have struck, reinforces Eurosport as the home of the Olympic Games across Europe and will ensure that every event is available to fans across all screens.

Discovery will recieve exclusive pay-TV rights for the Pyeongchang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games from the BBC
Discovery will receive exclusive pay-TV rights for the Pyeongchang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games from the BBC ©Getty Images

The BBC, which has broadcast the Olympic Games continuously since Rome 1960, will benefit from being able to show coverage on television and radio until 2024.

Their package of rights will also enable the corporation to broadcast coverage on their digital platforms.

During the London 2012 Olympic Games over 50 million people in the UK watched the BBC’s coverage, with seven million people accessing their website every day, the corporation have claimed.

Additionally, the BBC have stated they received 111 million requests for video throughout the Games, while over 2 million people downloaded their app.

“We are very pleased that the BBC will continue to bring free-to-air Olympic Games coverage to audiences through to 2024, extending our relationship with the event which began in 1928 and reinforcing the BBC’s long-term commitment to major sporting events,” said Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport.

“The Olympic Games is one of the nation’s most treasured sporting events and this is an extensive package of rights that ensures we can offer the best of the Games, across TV, radio, online and digital, maximising the reach and impact of the BBC.

“This ground-breaking partnership also shows how the BBC can collaborate and work with others to continue to bring the very best in sport to licence fee payers.”