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Bob Costas, Al Michaels Lead NBC's Olympic Roster Of Broadcasters
Published February 9, 2010
LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE? The CP's Gary Mason noted while NBC "expects to lose money televising" the Games, it "also anticipates near record-setting audience numbers." NBC Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol said that the network is expected to lose around $200M because "negotiations with advertisers took place amid a profound recessionary environment." He said that companies "were willing to buy ads," but just "not at prices NBC was asking." Ebersol: "They reached a line in the sand and they said 'that's it, we're not going to pay over it.'" But he "doesn't think it reflects, as some do, a loss of faith in the Olympics as a vehicle to sell products." Ebersol is "quite bullish about the Games" overall. He said, "This is only the second Winter Olympics in history that will have over 200 million watching -- only Lillehammer had more" (CP, 2/5). Meanwhile, Canada's Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium said that it is "too soon to tell" how it will do financially during the Games. Broadcast rights in Canada for the Games jumped to C$28M for the '06 Turin Olympics from C$12M for Lillehammer in '94, and hit a "record-breaking" C$90M for Vancouver (TORONTO STAR, 2/9).
NBC Plans To Stream Only About 400 Hours Of
Live Events, Down From Beijing Coverage In '08
ARE THE OLYMPICS STILL VALUABLE? In Ft. Worth, Gil LeBreton noted questions are "being raised about the relevance of an expensive, three-week global sports carnival." These will be the "first Olympics shot entirely" in HD, and "that can't hurt." But the "challenge for NBC will be how to present the bell cow of every Winter Olympics, figure skating, when the U.S. women are not expected to be in the medal hunt." LeBreton: "The Olympic Winter Games are back in North America, back in prime time. Ready and waiting for your high-definition scrutiny. Let the $820 million TV gamble begin" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/7).
STILL IN DEMAND: In a cover-story for BROADCASTING & CABLE, Marisa Guthrie notes despite the "bleak financial outlook" for the Vancouver Games, NBC is one of several networks "considering lining up for a shot at the next round" of U.S. Olympic rights. The worth of "such an endeavor is increasingly uncertain," and the next package of the '14 Sochi and '16 Rio de Janeiro Games "is a mixed bag for potential U.S. rights holders." Sochi is "eight hours ahead of New York," but NBC Olympics Exec VP & Exec Producer David Neal contends that Sochi is "nevertheless attractive and shares similarities" with the '02 Salt Lake City Games. Sports media consultant Neal Pilson: "It's a question of setting expectation levels. I'm sure Comcast and GE and NBC have had discussions about the upcoming negotiations, and I would think that given the importance of the Olympics to NBC, Comcast would support an NBC effort to retain that franchise." But with ESPN/ABC expected to bid as well, SNL Kagan senior analyst Deana Myers said, "The last few Olympics have been break-even or just a little profit. It makes sense for the Olympics to be on a sports network because they can (amortize) more of the content" (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 2/8 issue).