Bell, CBC Abandon Olympics Partnership, No Longer Bidding For Upcoming Games
Unable to "put a value on coming Olympic Games, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Bell Media have walked away from their partnership rather than put together a new bid for exclusive Canadian television rights," according to Houpt & Ladurantaye of the GLOBE & MAIL. The broadcasters have been "locked in negotiations for more than a year" with the IOC for the '14 Sochi and '16 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The breakup "raises the possibility that no domestic broadcaster will be willing to meet the financial terms demanded by the IOC." While the Games have "traditionally been ratings hits for Canadian broadcasters, they are expensive to secure and produce." Despite the "success of the Vancouver 2010 Games, for example, the domestic broadcast consortium of Bell Media and Rogers Media lost money." The partnership submitted two bids that were rejected by the IOC, including "a first pitch" of $70M and a second one "that was believed to be marginally higher." That was "less than half of what the Canadian networks bid" for the rights to the '10 Vancouver and '12 London Games. But "without the guarantee of NHL involvement in the Russian Games and time-zone complications, it's difficult for the broadcasters to gauge domestic interest." There is also "another NHL wrinkle: The CBC, Bell Media and Rogers are all interested in bidding when the rights to 'Hockey Night In Canada' come up for renewal in two years." While CBC yesterday said that it "was willing to explore new partnerships, Bell Media said it was unequivocally out of the bidding" (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/26). CTV President of Sports & Exec VP/Programming Phil King said, "We presented not one, but two fiscally responsible bids that are reflective of the Canadian marketplace" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 6/25).