Great Britain

BBC backlash: Fury as Beeb dropped full Tokyo Olympic TV rights 'to spite ITV'

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Coverage of the Tokyo Olympics has been criticised, with the BBC apologising after missing key moments like Kye Whyte’s silver medal for Team GB. Unlike at the London and Rio games, the corporation is only able to show two live events at any one time.

Coverage is shared with non-terrestrial broadcaster Discovery, which agreed a £920 million pan-European deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for TV rights.

In 2016 Discovery signed a deal with the BBC, agreeing to partner with the corporation.

This agreement covers the 2020 and 2024 summer Olympics, along with the 2018 and 2022 winter games.

Under UK law a proportion of this coverage must be shown on free-to-air TV.

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The BBC is only able to show two live events at once from the Tokyo games (Image: GETTY)

BBC

The BBC apologised after not showing Kye Whyte's silver medal win live on TV (Image: GETTY)

According to the Daily Telegraph the BBC “surrendered the full television tights this summer’s Olympics to avoid losing future Games, almost certainly to ITV”.

The decision was reportedly made when Lord Hall was the corporation’s director general.

In a 2016 statement, released after the final agreement, Lord Hall welcomed the Disney deal.

He commented: “While the BBC has had to take some tough financial decisions, this partnership underlines our commitment to making world-class sport available to all.”

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BBC

The BBC signed a deal with Discovery to cover the Olympics (Image: GETTY)

A spokesperson for the BBC defended the corporation’s coverage.

Speaking to Express.co.uk they said: “The IOC sold the rights for the Olympics in 2022 and 2024 to Discovery and, as a result, we needed to carve out a comprehensive deal that ensured the Olympics remained on the BBC.

“With over 500 hours of live coverage, and more BBC One hours than ever before, alongside 24-hour catch up and extensive radio and digital rights, we have secured an extensive offer for audiences that has already been watched by over 26 million people.”

The BBC issued an apology after their coverage failed to show Britain’s Kye Whyte winning a silver medal, in the men’s BMX event.

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Olympics

Kye Whyte competing in on his BMX bike (Image: GETTY)

Olympics

Emma Wilson won a bronze medal for Team GB (Image: GETTY)

Instead viewers were shown boxing highlights, with Mr Whyte’s heroics not shown on live TV until later.

BBC presenter JJ Chalmers commented: “We are very sorry that we didn't get to show Kye Whyte's race live on BBC One.

“It was on the red button, but there's been a bit of a timing issue.

“There have been some delays in the schedule as well.

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“We know he gets a silver, but here's how he did it.”

On Sunday Team GB won another two gold medals, taking their total to eight.

The golds came from two new mixed relay events, taking Britain to sixth in the overall medal table.

Olympics

Great Britain played Ireland at hockey on Saturday (Image: GETTY)

Bronze medals were also won by Emma Wilson and Karriss Artingstall, a British sailor and boxer respectively.

However UK sprinter Dina Asher-Smith was forced to pull out of the 200m final due to injury.

In total Team GB has secured 28 medals at Tokyo so far, including their best performance in the pool for 113 years.

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