SBD/Issue 64/Sports Media

IOC Expects At Least Three Networks To Bid For U.S. TV Rights

IOC Believes Winning Offer For U.S. TV
Rights For '14, '16 Games Will Exceed $2.2B
The IOC "expects at least three networks or media consortiums to bid for the U.S. television rights to the 2014 and 2016 Olympics and believes the winning offer will exceed the previous" $2.2B deal with NBC, according to Stephen Wilson of the AP. IOC Finance Commission Chair Richard Carrion said that he "has already received several expressions of interest from American networks and plans to make a deal sometime in 2010." Carrion: "I would expect a minimum of three players. ... I think we will see different consortiums come together." He added, "We can still wait, but things are better than six months ago. There [are] a lot of things going on in the marketplace. It's very likely we'll do it in 2010 sometime. Whether it's in the first half of the year or the second half of the year, it's not clear." Carrion said that he "expects to secure a more lucrative deal than" contract signed with NBC for the '10 and '12 Olympics. Carrion: "Obviously we'd like to improve. When you look at the overall picture, you will see markets that were lesser developed that are now showing big increases, including Brazil, some of the Asian Markets and even Europe. We will expect to improve on '10 and '12, without a doubt." Comcast earlier this month agreed to acquire a controlling stake in NBC Universal, and Carrion said that he "doesn't expect the multibillion-dollar deal ... will impact NBC's Olympic role and ambitions." Carrion: "I don't think that it's going to alter the calculus much. ... My understanding is that [NBC Sports & Olympics Chair] Dick Ebersol will lead the combined sports department and Dick is a big believer and a big supporter of the Olympic Games. It's probably a positive but we'll see when the bids come in." Meanwhile, Carrion said that the USOC's "controversial plans to launch its own Olympic network ... appeared off the table for now." Carrion: "We had asked for some information. They have not given it. I think the USOC has made a very clear statement they are not going to go ahead with anything without our approval" (AP, 12/12).

DELAY OF GAME? In making his sports media predictions for '10, THE DAILY's John Ourand writes, “Olympic bidding will be pushed to 2011.” The IOC “already delayed the bidding process once” and they “will do it again to let the Comcast-NBC acquisition go through the regulatory approval process.” Ourand: "The problem for the IOC right now is that it looks like only two networks will make serious bids for Olympic rights: ESPN and NBC. The IOC will want to ensure that a fully engaged and deep-pocketed NBC/Comcast is at the table" (SportsBusiness Journal, 12/14 issue).

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