SBD/March 8, 2011/Media

ESPN Execs Traveling To Madrid To Meet With IOC Members About Olympic Rights

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Top ESPN production execs are meeting the Olympic broadcasting execs in Madrid tomorrow, the latest signal that ESPN is interested in bidding for the '14 Sochi and '16 Rio de Janeiro Games. ESPN VP/Int'l Development Rob Simmelkjaer, the net's point person on the Olympic bid, Senior VP/Content Mike Pearl and Coordinating Producer Bill Bonnell are making the trip in an effort to demonstrate that ESPN can handle the Olympic Games and to discuss what their production plans would be. ESPN's pitch centers around televising the Games in real time rather than on a delay. Pearl brings a lot of Olympic production experience to the table, having worked on six Olympics, including as Exec Producer for three on CBS and ABC. The meetings are rather standard. Sources said Fox and NBC also have gone through similar meetings. The ESPN delegation is meeting with Olympic Broadcasting Services Managing Dir & CEO Manolo Romero and IOC VP Television & Audiovisual Rights Vincent Chupin. IOC Finance Commission Chair Richard Carrion, the organization's lead negotiator for the broadcast rights, has said that the IOC hopes to have finalized a deal by July. It historically has hosted negotiations near its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The IOC is definitely accepting bids on the '14 and '16 Games; it is considering expanding the bidding process to include the '18 and '20 Games as well.
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