SBD/January 6, 2011/Media

Twice As Nice: IOC May Sell U.S. TV Rights To Next Four Olympics

Carrion plans to talk about four-Games idea at IOC meetings next week in Switzerland

IOC Finance Commission Chair Richard Carrion said that all networks interested in acquiring U.S. TV rights to the Olympics have "approached the IOC about" bidding for the next four Games, "rather than the usual two-games deal," according to Stephen Wilson of the AP. The IOC had been "planning to auction only the lucrative rights" to the '14 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and the '16 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. But Carrion, who handles U.S. broadcast deals for the IOC, said that the organization now is "weighing the possibility of widening the high-stakes bidding to include" the '18 and '20 Games as well. An Olympic official indicated that ESPN and Fox have been "among the most adamant for a four-games deal." NBC and a joint CBS-Turner bid also are said to be interested in bidding for the rights. Wilson noted adding two more Olympics to the package "could bring the total rights fee" to more than $4B. Since the IOC has yet to select host cities for the '18 and '20 Games, the networks could be "bidding on two Olympics without knowing where they will be held." IOC member Dick Pound, the committee's former negotiator of U.S. TV rights, said that the four-Games package "made financial sense to the networks as a long-term investment." Carrion said that he "would support the idea, which is expected to be discussed at IOC executive board meetings in Lausanne, Switzerland, next week." The IOC has "postponed the U.S. rights negotiations for more than a year because of unfavorable economic conditions and a slump in the advertising market." Carrion said the organization now is "preparing to go ahead with the auction in the first half of the year" (AP, 1/5).

YOU'VE GOT THE WHOLE WORLD: AROUND THE RINGS selected Jacques Rogge as one of its "Golden 25," and Ed Hula wrote the IOC President "can shape the future of the organization beyond his tenure with a lucrative U.S. rights package for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics." Rogge has indicated that he would "like to see a deal worth $2 billion" for the '14 and '16 Games, and he will work with Carrion to "see that those bids generate the cash they believe the Olympics are worth in the U.S." Rogge said, "It’s important for us because we redistribute 94 percent of our revenue. What we redistribute to the IFs, the NOCs, the grass roots development, Olympic Solidarity, two-thirds come from the TV rights in the United States and the rest of the world" (AROUNDTHERINGS.com, 1/3).

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