July 22, 2024

NBC Wins TV Rights to 4 Olympics for $4.38 Billion

It was NBC’s first Olympic deal since 1988 without Dick Ebersol, the longtime head of NBC Sports, who resigned last month after helping to engineer eight winning bids. The victory was a sign that Comcast saw the value of continuing the relationship with the Olympics, with its powerful impact in prime time.

Companies had the option to bid for two Games, four Games, or both. ESPN bid $1.4 billion for the 2014 and 2016 Games; Fox put in bids for two Olympics and for four Olympics.

The auction took place at International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, generally following the same procedure it did eight years ago. At the time, NBC agreed to pay $2 billion to carry last year’s Winter Games in Vancouver and next year’s Summer Games in London. Fox bid $1.3 billion and ESPN offered to share revenues with the I.O.C. but never specified a dollar figure. NBC won easily, and General Electric, then the network’s parent company, added $200 million for a global Olympic sponsorship.

But this week’s three-network auction came in the aftermath of the global recession, NBC’s $223 million loss in Vancouver and the possibility that it would lose at least that much in London.

Comcast, ESPN and Fox had said that they would be prudent and not bid wildly.

The auctions followed a period in which only NBC was involved.

Through two pre-emptive bids executed within a few months in 1995, NBC acquired the rights to all the Olympics from 2000 to 2008 for $3.5 billion.

Fox officials made their presentation first Monday, followed Tuesday morning and afternoon by ESPN and NBC. Their audience consisted of nine officials of the Olympic committee, including Jacques Rogge, its president; Richard Carrión, the I.O.C. member from Puerto Rico, who was in charge of the auction, and Timo Lumme, the director of television and marketing services. At the end of NBC’s presentation, each network placed a sealed envelope containing its bid into a plexiglass box.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=460ed8a8e960b1f4a7421f33f6c9198e

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