SBJ/February 11-17, 2013/Media

Will NBC, Yahoo extend deal to Winter Games?

NBC Sports and Yahoo Sports are discussing whether to extend their digital partnership to the Olympics and begin working together for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The pair struck a broad digital alliance two months ago, combining sports content and fantasy assets. But the deal notably did not include anything relative to the Olympics. The two entities during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, and 2012 Summer Games in London conducted high-profile online traffic battles pitting Yahoo’s extensive scale against NBC’s exclusive content rights.

Yahoo’s Rivals.com last week supplied NBC with material from college football’s national signing day.
But NBC executives said that digital Olympics fight may be changing.

“We’re talking to them,” said Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics. “There’s nothing in place at present. We’re working closely together with them every day on a variety of initiatives in sports. But we’ll have to see where this goes.”

Zenkel said a decision on whether Yahoo will be formally involved in NBC’s digital coverage at Sochi would need to be made by summertime.

Yahoo executives did not provide any detail on a potential Olympics collaboration. “We are always exploring ways to deliver the best Olympics experience for our users,” spokeswoman Nicol Addison said.

The NBC-Yahoo partnership is expected to create by far the most widely trafficked online sports destination in the country when combined reporting for third-party metrics outfits such as comScore begins in the next few months. Content integration between the two has already been extensive, most recently with Yahoo’s Rivals.com last week supplying material from college football’s national signing day to NBCSports.com.

NBC Sports last week said it will stream every event from Sochi live to digital platforms, a repeat of its plan from the London Games but still a first for the Winter Olympics.

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