SBD/Issue 85/Sports Media

IOC May Delay Bidding For '14, '16 Games U.S. Rights Due To Economy

Carrion (l) Says IOC Seriously Considering
Delaying U.S. Bids For '14, '16 Games Rights
IOC Finance Commission Chair Richard Carrion said that the IOC is "seriously considering delaying until next year the bidding for the U.S. media rights for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics because of the ongoing struggles of broadcasters hurt by a rocky advertising market," according to Futterman & Ovide of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The IOC "had planned to sell the TV rights this spring following what they and TV executives believe will be strong U.S. ratings for the Vancouver Games." But Carrion said, "There is sufficient instability in the market that we may wait a bit." Carrion's comments "come just days after" NBC Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol said that his network will lose money on the Vancouver Games. Ebersol also said that ad sales "have been flat for the past two Olympic Winter Games." Media execs "saw Mr. Ebersol's comments as a signal to the IOC to lower their expectations in anticipation of bidding for 2014 and 2016," but Carrion said that he is "confident the U.S. rights fees will ultimately increase for 2014 and 2016, as they already have in Brazil and the Middle East." Carrion added that he "anticipates the conclusion of Comcast Corp.'s deal to take over NBC Universal, and a recovering advertising market combined with the increasing ability of broadcast networks to begin collecting transmission fees from cable and satellite-television providers will all help loosen the purse strings -- if the IOC can time its sale correctly." Futterman & Ovide note in addition to NBC, other companies "considering Olympic bids" include ESPN, Turner, CBS and News Corp., though sources said that "all are wary of the profitability of televising the Olympics" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/15).

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