Sky Television have the rights for the next four Olympic Games locked up after inking a long-term deal with the IOC.

The network, which will also broadcast this year's Games in Rio, has secured the rights to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 along with the 2024 event, which is yet to be awarded to a host city. It will also screen the next two Winter Olympics in PyeongChang (2018) and Beijing (2022).

The decision to chase one of the longest broadcast deals in the company's history could be read as an aggressive move to shut out free-to-air broadcasters and other aspiring providers from the market. As traditional viewership habits change and audiences increasingly move online, major sporting events remain one of the few reliable world mass aggregator of TV audiences.

That has seen TVNZ re-emerge as a player in sporting coverage, with the state broadcaster announcing earlier this year it had secured rights for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.


But Sky's director of sport, Richard Last, insists TVNZ's maneuverings had no influence on his company's decision to seek out a multi-Olympic deal.

"This deal was pretty close to being completed before Christmas, it's just it takes a little while to work through all the details. [TVNZ] was not something that figured into our thinking," said Last.

"We have just been concentrating on our own game. If we get our game right, we will have done the right thing by subscribers.

"We think these events are of major interest to sports subscribers and we think we can make it work."

Given the massive shift in viewership habits over the past few years, investing in a deal of this length could be seen as a risky strategy. But Last believes the Olympics will always be a safe bet.

"Although eight years sounds like a long time, in terms of television rights I don't think it is that long. People are always going to want to watch the best athletes perform on the big stage and I think we have a great platform to allow that to happen."

"Rumours of [television's] impending demise is probably a little bit exaggerated. And the data in the States shows that - there was lots of talk about cord-cutting and going without a cable subscription, but I think they have risen again for the first time in a couple of years."

IOC President Thomas Bach said the organisation's long-term partnership with Sky is "another clear demonstration of the enduring appeal of the Olympic Games".