NBC Wins Olympic Broadcast Rights Through 2020

Posted June 7th, 2011 at 3:35 pm (UTC-5)
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NBC will remain the U.S. television broadcast network for the Olympics through the 2020 Games.

NBC has broadcast every Summer Olympics since 1988 and every Winter Games since 2002. The network won the bid for the four Olympics after next year's London Games for a total of about $4.4 billion.

The United States pays more than any other country for the Olympic broadcast rights because its top networks bid against one another. The U.S. Olympic Committee reaps some of the benefits. It gets 12.75 percent of the contract.

NBC beat out rival bids this time from the ESPN and Fox networks, which were presented to the International Olympic Committee. The winning bid was announced Tuesday at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Executives from NBC, ESPN and Fox submitted sealed envelopes placed inside a see-through plexiglass box. Then they left the building to let IOC officials open them and consider the offers in private.

IOC president Jacques Rogue said all three bids were excellent but NBC's was the most impressive and “it has a track record for broadcasting the Games that speaks for itself.”

NBC now will have exclusive rights to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, as well as the 2018 and 2020 Olympics, whose sites have not yet been chosen.

This was the first U.S. rights auction since 2003, when NBC secured the 2010 and 2012 Olympics in a deal worth $2.2 billion. That means the average payment for each of the four future Olympics remains the same.

NBC lost more than $200 million on the 2010 Vancouver Olympics during the rough economy. The network could suffer a similar loss from next year's London Olympics.