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News - NBC Awarded Gold Medal with Olympic Contract

Jun/2011

20

NBC Awarded Gold Medal with Olympic Contract

 

After nearly a month of anxiously awaiting the determination of the new home of the Olympic Games, NBC can once again breathe easy.  In the weeks following the abrupt departure of NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol, the fate of the Olympic contract went from being a pretty sure bet to iffy, at best. 

The timing of Ebersol’s departure wasn’t ideal for NBC, with his 22-year career ending 3 weeks before he was set to board a plan for Switzerland, where almost everyone fully expected his bid for the Winter and Summer Olympics to be successful once again.  The vast power vacuum in sports broadcasting was dutifully noted by competitors Fox and more importantly, ESPN.

While NBC has had a strong grip on the Olympic Games contract for what seems an eternity, ESPN was seen as the network with the best shot at stealing the golden contract.  This cash-generating machine practically has a monopoly on the biggest sports packages, including rights to the NFL, NBA and MLB. 

The power of one man’s absence was glaringly clear as the days were counted down to the start of the bidding process, which took place June 6-7.  Not only did Ebersol perform the bidding presentation in the past, he also wrote, directed and choreographed the presentation for NBC. 

While several key players held fast to their skepticism, the station adamantly insisted that Ebersol’s departure would be unrelated to the bid. And at the end of the day…they were right. How serious was NBC about broadcasting the Olympic Games for the next 6 years?

Pretty serious.  $4.38 billion serious. 

This epic feat was pulled off by Comacast Chairman Brian Roberts and new NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus.  The winning bid includes $775 million for the Sochi Winter Games in 2014, $1.2 billion for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, 963 million for the Winter 2018 games and $1.42 billion for the 2020 Summer Games. 

How well NBC broadcasting will perform throughout the duration of their newly renewed contract still remains to be seen, but for now it appears that they may have just dodged a bullet and have been given a chance to show the world that they can still come out on top…no matter who is heading the show.

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