Discovery's own coverage of Tokyo 2020 attracted approximately 175 million viewers from across Europe ©Getty Images

Olympic Games rights-holder Discovery has reported a 13-fold increase in viewers for its Tokyo 2020 Olympic broadcasts, compared to Pyeongchang 2018.

The broadcaster held rights across much of Europe, with the exception of Russia, for the Games, showing live action through its subscription channels and the discovery+ app, and sublicensing some coverage to free-to-air broadcasters.

It has now released statistics with regard to its audience reach, and says more than 372 million people tuned in to Tokyo 2020 across the continent - both for partner broadcasts and those on its channels.

Approximately 175 million of these viewers went directly through Discovery’s broadcasts, with close to a further 200 million following the Games through sublicensed broadcasters.

These total figures represent an increase of more than 10 per cent from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Discovery’s own television and digital broadcasts had something of a breakthrough, recording a 13-time increase in viewing figures from 2018.

A total of 1.3 billion minutes of coverage was streamed through discovery+ and Eurosport, representing a 21-fold increase from Pyeongchang 2018.

Discovery also revealed that it posted high shares of TV coverage in the Nordic countries, with up to 86 per cent of viewers joining its coverage on free-to-air networks, including regular shares of more than 80 per cent in Norway and Sweden.

The Eurosport website, meanwhile, more than doubled its unique visitors from Pyeongchang 2018 to in excess of 47 million.

Discovery's rights deal with the International Olympic Committee is currently due to run until Paris 2024 ©Getty Images
Discovery's rights deal with the International Olympic Committee is currently due to run until Paris 2024 ©Getty Images

Jean-Briac Perrette, the President and chief executive of Discovery International, said: "From the beginning of our partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2015, Discovery committed to growing the Olympics audience in Europe and engaging new people with the Games.

"Despite significant challenges brought on by the pandemic, we have now delivered on this ambition with record breaking reach and bringing new audiences to the Winter and Summer Olympic Games, achieved together with over 45 sublicence partners that Discovery has brought on-board.

"I particularly want to thank our brilliant team that worked tirelessly in unprecedented conditions, and with our great partners the IOC and OBS, to bring these Games so successfully to our audiences across Europe."

The President of sports at Discovery, Andrew Georgiou, added: "Tokyo 2020 was a truly unique Olympics and it was a privilege for Discovery to bring the Games to people throughout Europe as well as in record numbers on digital platforms.

"Discovery’s unrivalled expertise in sports storytelling, both on and off the field of play, entertained and delighted audiences across all out platforms.

"Growing audiences and engagement through sport is something we do best, particularly as we see the success of leveraging a mass-appeal platform in discovery+ to bring in new and different consumers.

"We’re already well into our planning for Beijing 2022, less than six months away, and the handover to Paris during the Closing Ceremony brought to life the outstanding opportunity that a Games in our own backyard will bring."

Discovery’s existing deal with the IOC was signed to cover four Summer and Winter Olympic Games up to Paris 2024.