The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has exploited China's likely status as host of the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to agree a bumper new broadcasting deal with China Central Television (CCTV).
The state broadcaster has been awarded exclusive rights to screen the next four Games after Rio 2016 in the world's most populous nation, in a deal believed to be worth some $550 million (£350 million/€450,000).
This is more than double the sum agreed for the same rights covering the four Games from Vancouver 2010 to Rio 2016, and reflects Asia's monopoly of Olympic hosting rights between 2018 and 2022.
With the 2018 Games earmarked for Pyeongchang, South Korea, 2020 going to Tokyo and 2022 set for either Beijing or Almaty, Kazakhstan, the IOC will be hoping for similarly substantial increases in other Asian markets.
The new deal represents a scarcely believable leap from the $17.5 million (£11 million/€14 million) paid by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union for the TV rights (excluding new media) covering most of Asia, including China, for the last Chinese Olympics in Beijing in 2008.
Even so, $550 million works out at only around $0.40 (£0.25/€0.32) per head of Chinese population for all four Games, compared with the approximately $3.80 (£2.40/€3.10)per capita paid by NBC Universal for the right to air Rio 2016 on US soil.
Thomas Bach, the IOC President, said he was "delighted that we will continue to work with our longstanding broadcast partner CCTV.
"They have demonstrated many times their ability to bring first class coverage of the Olympic Games to hundreds of millions of Chinese people.
"The revenue the IOC has secured from this agreement will be redistributed to support future organisers of the Olympic Games, as well as supporting sport and athletes in China and around the world."
Hu Zhanfan, CCTV's President, described the deal as a "win-win agreement".
CCTV was, he said, "determined to be, as always, a powerful and exceptional partner of the IOC".
Zaiqing Yu, Chinese IOC vice-president, said CCTV was a "strong supporter of the Olympic values", adding: "We look forward to continuing our partnership through to 2024."
CCTV has acquired the rights across all broadcast platforms in all languages; the deal also includes the right to broadcast all editions of the Youth Olympic Games until 2024.
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