DID MURDOCH MAKE IOC AN OFFER THEY CAN'T REFUSE?
The IOC confirmed that a consortium backed by Rupert
Murdoch's News Corp. has bid for exclusive European TV coverage
of all Olympic Games between 2000 and 2008. IOC Dir General
Francois Carrard said "there is an offer on the table" and did
not deny a Financial Times report that the bid was for more than
$2B (Stephanie Wilson, AP/PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/11). The bid
averages $400M per Olympics and represents a 67% increase from
the $240M paid by the European Broadcasting Union for the '96
Atlanta Games. If successful, the Murdoch bid "would mark the
first time" the IOC has awarded broadcasting rights to a pay-TV
broadcaster. Media analysts say a long-term Olympic deal would
enable BSkyB, 40% owned by Murdoch's News Corp., "to expand its
satellite service throughout Europe." Analysts also said the $2B
offer, "coupled with promises of some coverage on free television
channels, is likely to be enticing to the Olympic Committee"
(Tara Parker-Pope, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/11). But, USA TODAY's
Rudy Martzke writes that IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch is
"expected to reject" the Murdoch-backed offer (USA TODAY, 1/11).