Coverage of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will be shown on video messaging application Snapchat after the signing of an unprecedented deal with American rightsholders NBC.

A dedicated "Rio Olympic Discover" channel will be launched on the mobile app throughout the Games, showing short clips of sporting action as well as behind the scenes footage.

Daily "Live Stories" will also be compiled, using content from NBC athletes and sports fans in the Brazilian host city.

Content will be co-produced by NBC in conjunction with Buzzfeed, with clips created from both inside and outside Olympic venues.

It marks the first time the US rightsholder has agreed to share video of the sporting contest.

“We are thrilled to be working closely with Snapchat on extending the stories and excitement of the Rio Olympics to their large, dynamic, and socially active audience,” said NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel.

“And who better to partner with to produce content for that audience than Buzzfeed, perhaps the most creative producers in the social content space.

“We have never allowed the distribution of any game highlights off NBC’s own platforms.

"But Snapchat really effectively reaches a very important demographic in the United States, and is very important to our efforts to assemble the large, massive audience that will show up to watch the Olympic Games.”

The move is being billed as a way to entice a younger audience into the Games, with it hoped that those who grow interested in athletes via Snapchat will then follow their on-field exploits on television.

Snapchat is not paying for its access, but will share revenue from advertisements paired with the content, which NBC will take the lead in selling.

The content will also not be exclusive to Snapchat, with it possible that similar deals could be struck with Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites.

It will only cover the United States.

“It’s as much about what’s going on on the field as what’s going on in the Olympic village and Rio and really feeling like you’re there - seeing it through the fans’ eyes and the athletes’ eyes,” said Snapchat director of partnerships Ben Schwerin.

“Billions of people watch the Olympics on TV but a small fraction actually get to attend them in person.”

The growing significance of Snapchat has been highlighted to the Olympic Movement in recent months, including by marketing giant Sir Martin Sorrell when giving a key note address at last year's International Olympic Committee Session in Kuala Lumpur.

Los Angeles has also partnered with Snapchat in its bid for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics to offer local citizens in select neighbourhoods special geofilters which will allow them to decorate their photo and video snaps with their newly-launched bid logo.