Mammoth NBC bid snags US Olympic rights till 2020
By: Fabrice Marinoni, French Correspondent
Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 10:26 am

NBCUniversal nailed down another four Olympic games, thanks to a $4.38 billion deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that covers rights to the 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020 Olympic Games.

“We are honored to continue as the U.S. Olympic broadcaster for the remainder of this decade,” says Comcast Chairman/CEO Brian Roberts. “The vision for our new Comcast-NBCUniversal was to create new platforms and technologies to distribute the very best content. Every two years, the Olympic Games provides iconic content for us to deliver on all platforms. We are proud to continue the rich heritage and long association that NBC has had with the IOC, and I personally want to thank President Jacques Rogge and [IOC member] Richard Carrion for their long-term trust.”

Adds NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke, “I’m extremely pleased we will be continuing as the IOC’s U.S. media partner. Broadcasting sports events is an important part of our business, and the Olympics are obviously a significant part of the portfolio. We have a talented and experienced team in place with a legacy of outstanding Olympics coverage, and we are all looking forward to London next year and to Sochi and Rio after that.”

NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus says that the Olympics are a significant part of NBC and the IOC again recognized NBCUniversal’s unmatched ability to promote, market, program, and produce the Olympic Games.

“London, Sochi, Rio, and the 2018 and 2020 Games will benefit from our ability to galvanize all the resources of the newly formed NBC Sports Group to bring the Games to more homes and more platforms than ever,” says Lazarus.

The decision came after two days of meetings held at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. Switzerland, during which ESPN, Fox, and NBC each gave a presentation and submitted their proposals to the IOC. The negotiation process started earlier this year with preliminary discussions conducted with all interested parties. Each proposal was discussed by an IOC delegation chaired by Rogge.

Rogge says the IOC is delighted to have reached an agreement with its longstanding partner NBC. ”We received three excellent bids and would like to thank each broadcaster for their presentations. In the end, we were most impressed with NBC, which not only has a track record for broadcasting the Games that speaks for itself but also has a clear and innovative vision of where it wants to take the broadcast of the Games between now and 2020. We look forward to continuing to build on our already strong relationship beginning in London next year.”

NBC has broadcast a total of 12 Olympic Games, more than any other network. The 2012 London Summer Olympics will be its 13th Olympic Games broadcast and seventh consecutive. Today’s announcement means that, at the conclusion of the 2020 Summer Olympics, NBC will have broadcast 17 Olympic Games and 11 consecutive.

In a statement, ESPN said, “We made a disciplined bid that would have brought tremendous value to the Olympics and would have been profitable for our company. To go any further would not have made good business sense for us. We wish to congratulate the IOC on a fair and transparent process, and we offer our best wishes to Comcast/NBC. We put our best foot forward with a compelling offer that included the enthusiastic participation of all of The Walt Disney Co.’s considerable assets.”

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