The International Olympic Committee (IOC) just made a surprising announcement.
The New York Post reports that the IOC has decided not to allow videos from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be shared on social media — not even by the participating athletes themselves.
A multibillion-dollar deal
According to the IOC, the purpose of this ban is to protect its broadcasting rights. Currently, the broadcasting rights for the Olympic Games are exclusively held by the Rights Holding Broadcasters (RHBs).
For the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well as for the 2018 Pyeongchang Tiner Olympics, the IOC is expected to receive upwards of $4 billion in broadcasting revenue. And according to the IOC, it’s important to protect these rights, because most of this money — about 90% of it, they say — gets redistributed to the sports and the athletes.
The IOC’s most lucrative deal comes from the issuance of broadcasting rights of the Olympic Games to NBC Universal.
According to the Post, NBC currently has Olympic Games broadcasting rights through 2032, and it paid $7.65 billion for that privilege.
The IOC takes aim
Evidently, the IOC isn’t afraid to defend its multibillion-dollar deal. The committee made headlines earlier this week after 29-year-old Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah shared video of herself winning gold in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints. The former race resulted in Thompson-Herah clocking a record time of 10.61 seconds.
Following her victory, Thomas-Herah attempted to share footage from her races on Instagram, but she was swiftly blocked by the company’s copyright policy. She was also suspended for the violation.
“I was blocked on Instagram for posting the races of the Olympics because I did not own the right to do so,” Thompson-Herah revealed in a social media post, according to the New York Post. “So see y’all in 2 days.”
Facebook, which owns Instagram, later claimed that while the block was correct, the suspension shouldn’t have been imposed, Reuters reported.
According to NPR, an IOC spokesperson explained that “athletes are invited to share the content provided by the RHBs on their accounts but cannot post-competition content natively. Should that occur, the removal of such content from social media platforms happens automatically.”
It’s a rule that makes sense from the perspective of those who own the broadcasting rights — but it sure does seem to take some fun out of the Games.