The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that it has awarded the 2012 Olympic broadcast rights in the Middle East to the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU).
The agreement, valued at $21 million (U.S.)—a significant increase from the broadcast rights agreement signed for the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008—includes coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games in Bahrain, Djibouti, Iraq, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Yemen.
The ASBU has been the IOC’s broadcast partner in the region since 1976 and has shown great commitment to increasing its free-to-air coverage of the Olympic Games. In Athens for example, the ASBU was already broadcasting 34 hours every day. In 2012, the ASBU will be able to air the Games across all platforms, including TV, cable, satellite, Internet and mobile telephones, in all languages throughout the region.
Speaking about the agreement, IOC President Jacques Rogge said: “By awarding the TV rights to the ASBU, the IOC ensures that people in the Middle East are able to be at the heart of the Olympic competitions without payment. This is a very important principle for us, and this agreement shows our dedication to continuing to bring the Olympic Games to everyone across the world free of charge.”
Commenting on the deal, IOC Executive Board member Richard Carrión, who led the TV rights negotiations in the Middle East said: “This agreement is a great outcome for the IOC and for the people of the region who are keen to see more of the Olympic Games, on television but also through new platforms. The ASBU has been a long-term and faithful broadcast partner over the years and we look forward to our continued relationship.”
Speaking about the agreement, ASBU Director General Abdelhafidh Harguem said: “The ASBU is very pleased and happy to have been awarded the Olympic broadcast rights for this premium event. This agreement will allow us to continue the long-standing and successful relationship with the IOC and the advancement of the Olympic Movement. The ASBU, which shares the Olympic values and spirit, is committed to providing large and comprehensive coverage of the London 2012 Games in the ASBU region across all platforms and in particular over-the-air television, thus ensuring the universal character of the Games and, above all, making this most important international sporting event in the world accessible to the widest possible television audience, free of charge."
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