SBD/April 7, 2011/Media

IOC Will Allow Networks Vying For US TV Rights To Bid For Two Or Four Games

NBC paid $2B for the rights to the '08 Beijing Games and '10 Vancouver Games
IOC Finance Commission Chair Richard Carrion yesterday said that the IOC “plans to sell the next set of lucrative U.S. Olympic television rights by mid-June, with networks given the option of bidding on two or four games,” according to Stephen Wilson of the AP. The IOC traditionally awards the rights for two Olympics at a time, but networks “have expressed interest in the possibility of a four-games deal this time.” Carrion said that he “expects three networks to compete for the contract and that the winning fee will surpass the $2 billion that NBC paid for the rights to the 2010 and 2012 Olympics.” He said that he has “held preliminary talks with all interested U.S. networks and the bidding contract documents are being finalized.” The networks will then be invited to the IOC’s HQs in Lausanne, Switzerland, “to make presentations and offer sealed bids.” Carrion: "I would suspect it'll happen in the second part of June." He added that the “goal is to have the deal completed before the IOC meeting in early July in Durban, South Africa.” Carrion declined to say which networks are likely to make bids, but Wilson noted “the contenders are widely expected to include incumbent NBC, ESPN and Fox.” Carrion said that the bidders “will sign a document ahead of the auction that ensures a level playing field.” TV rights fees “provide the bulk of the IOC's revenue, with the U.S. share accounting for more than half the total.” Meanwhile, Carrion praised the USOC for its “concerted effort to improve relations with the IOC and negotiate a new revenue-sharing agreement.” Carrion: "I would say it's a new page" (AP, 4/6).
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