NBC retains Olympics through 2020


We know what you’re thinking.  What do the Olympics have to do with football?

Since football isn’t an Olympic event (even though it should be), The Games have nothing to do with The Game.

But we need to pause for a second (with the lockout, it’s not like we’re jammed up with NFL content) and mention that NBC has retained the rights to the Olympics through 2020.

The deal, worth more than $4 billion, keeps the next five Olympics on NBC.  With Comcast acquiring NBC and Dick Ebersol surprisingly leaving NBC last month, there was a sense that ESPN or FOX could swipe the rights from NBC, which has broadcast the Summer Games since 1998 and the Winter Games since 2002.

Congratulations to everyone at NBC who had a hand in getting it done.  Now, can someone get them to make football an Olympic event?  Summer and Winter?

13 responses to “NBC retains Olympics through 2020

  1. I’d love to see an American Samoa Olympic football team. Those guys vs. the U.S. in the Gold Medal round would be legendary.

  2. If you bought tickets to Olympic football in the Winter games, would they make you pay full price for the Summer games, too?

  3. We want rhythmic gymnastics!
    We want the luge!
    We want synchronized swimming!
    We want sequined male figure skaters!

  4. By the way, football has been in every summer Olympiad except 1896 and 1932, and yes, the IOC, the same group who gave your corporate master the broadcasting rights, call it football, not soccer.

  5. American football in the olympics? I’m sure we could beat the other 3 countries around the globe that play it.

  6. In other articles elsewhere, ESPN said anything beyond what they bid for the games would not have made “good business sense,” and I agree.

    Comcast/NBC’s bid of $1.1 billion of each of four Olympics ($4.4 billion total) simply blew away all other bids. Given the uncertainty of the US (and for that matter, world) economy as it is and where it could be just for next year’s games in London (that NBC holds the rights to from a previous deal), let alone three years from now when the ’14 games take place in Sochi, even with the many resources ESPN has at its disposal, there was no way Disney/ESPN could have justified bidding anywhere close to what Comcast/NBC did to get the rights to all four games (ESPN’s bid was $1.4 billion total for the 2014 and ’16 games, while FOX’s bid was about $1.5 billion for those games). ESPN could not have gotten back enough revenue from cable and satellite companies to justify such a bid, not to mention that the IOC likely would have wanted some coverage on ABC (and there has been an issue from what I’ve read in various outlets of ABC affiliates not owned by Disney west of the Central Time Zone not wanting sports on their stations AT ALL because they actually make more money off of infomercials than regular programming, and even the Olympics might have been a problem for some of those).

    Comcast/NBC likely knows they will have to switch to a live model for subsequent Olympics (though we may not see that until 2014 because the upcoming games next year in London were part of as noted a previous deal struck in a different business environment in the early 2000s) as I think the IOC will be insisting on that. With the growing threat of illegal uploads to YouTube and other social media and people able to find out results much easier than in the past, Comcast likely is well aware they might not have a choice but to go all live no matter what it costs from prime time coverage.

    Comcast/NBC likely is looking at losing money on these four Olympics even with the ratings the games still get, especially if they have to show live events when it is not necessarily convenient for people to watch because many have to work. That may not matter, as the real goal of these games may be for Comcast to treat the games as a “loss leader” and use the games to give greater exposure to their cable networks, which include the soon-to-be-renamed Versus. What the Olympics may do is allow Comcast, with the renamed Versus channel to put a very serious dent into ESPN, which may be the real reason they bid what they did, perfectly willing to lose $1 Billion or more on these games in order to get massive exposure for the cable outlets that could make Comcast much bigger on cable than they already are.

  7. @wallyhorse: It is called the Winner’s Curse. The one to win an auction likely paid too much to win.

    Beyond that, american football in the olympics is flat out stupid. There is no international competition.

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