Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Olympics Remain Must-See TV

By Kristen Seabolt

Yesterday, NBC Universal beat out both FOX and ESPN to secure the U.S. broadcasting rights to the next four Olympic Games from 2014 until 2020… a deal reportedly worth $4.38 billion.

This is no surprise really, as NBC has broadcast every summer Olympics since 1988 and every winter Games since 2002. They also have the rights until the 2012 summer Games in London.

The breakdown per Games will be $755 million for 2014, $1.226 billion for 2016, $963 million for 2018 and $1.418 billion for 2020, making the United States TV rights deal the biggest single source of income for the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Also, as part of the deal, NBC acquired the rights for all media platforms, including free-to-air television, subscription television, internet and mobile TV. In the past however, NBC was criticized for using a tape-delay in order to show some of the Olympic events on primetime rather than airing them live, including the famous U.S. hockey win over Russia in 1980. The most recent tape delays occurred during both the 2008 Beijing summer Olympics and the 2010 Vancouver winter Olympics.

However, in this media and technology day and age, every minute of every day is primetime. With instant news made possible with the internet and the million of forms of social media, it will be impossible for NBC to air events on primetime TV after the fact, because everyone in America and throughout the world will have already watched it and/or know the outcome.

Kristen Seabolt
is an Associate Account Executive for Maroon PR. Contact her at

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