SBD/August 2, 2012/Olympics

CBC Wins Canadian Broadcast Rights For '14 Sochi, '16 Rio Games

The CBC won the Canadian TV rights to the '14 Sochi and '16 Rio de Janeiro Games after it initially "balked at costs they could no longer stomach," according to Brendan Kennedy of the TORONTO STAR. Terms of the CBC's deal with the IOC were not disclosed, but a source said that the deal was worth between C$75-80M -- or C$5-10M "more than a joint bid made by CBC and Bell earlier this year." Rival telecommunications companies Bell and Rogers had "partnered in 2007 to form the Canadian Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium in order to outbid the CBC for the broadcasting rights to the 2010 Vancouver and 2012 London Games." But after losing an estimated C$20-80M "on the Vancouver Games alone, neither company was willing to make a bid that satisfied the IOC, especially without any guarantee that NHL players would be participating" in the '14 Sochi Games. CBC VP/English Television Kristine Stewart said that the company "believes Canadians will watch Olympic hockey whether or not NHL players are involved" (TORONTO STAR, 8/2). The CP's Cassandra Szklarski noted the deal "does not cut out rival broadcasters entirely." Stewart said that the terms "include sub-licensing rights allowing CBC to partner with other networks" (CP, 8/1).

UPPING THE ANTE: The GLOBE & MAIL's Josh O'Kane notes the CBC is "keeping the bid's cost confidential, even as it faces" C$115M in cuts over the next three years. The net has "long been a supporter of Canadian sports, but the loss of the Olympics since 2010, has forced it to lean significantly on 'Hockey Night in Canada' -- whose rights come up for bid again in 2014." Charlton Strategic Research President Gord Hendren said, "There's no question that this solidifies their position in the sports game. The only concern is whether this has used any resources that could be directed to NHL rights" (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/2).
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