IOC inks mega TV deal

Olympic flag (File)
Olympic flag (File)

New York - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and US broadcaster NBC-Universal announced Wednesday they have reached an American television rights deal worth $7.65bn that runs from 2021 through the 2032 Olympics.

The deal announced by NBC Universal was hailed by IOC president Thomas Bach as ensuring the Olympic movement long-term operating income.

"This agreement is excellent news for the entire Olympic movement as it helps to ensure its financial security in the long term, in particular future host cities of the Olympic Games, the athletes of the 204 National Olympic Committees and the International Sports Federations," Bach said.

The unprecedented long-term contract also has an additional $100m signing bonus for the promotion of Olympism and Olympic values between 2015 and 2020.

"The IOC has worked in close partnership with NBC for many decades, and we are thrilled we will continue to work with them through to 2032," Bach said.

NBC had bought rights in 2011 to all US Olympic broadcast coverage through 2020. The network has shown every Winter Olympics to US audiences since 2002 and every Summer Olympics to American viewers since 1992.

The 2016 Summer Olympics will be staged in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, while the 2020 Olympics are set for Tokyo. The 2018 Winter Olympics will be staged in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Host sites beyond that have yet to be determined.

American companies are some of the largest financial backers of the Olympics and advertising during the Games fetches some of the largest sales prices of any programming because of high viewership, even when the Olympics are staged on the other side of the world.

Much of NBC's coverage is on tape delay and shown in prime television viewing hours nightly, although more live programming was shown on company-owned cable networks from the Sochi Winter Olympics last February, helping boost the NBC Sports Network, which has found niche hits with English Premier League football and National Hockey League coverage.

"This is one of the most important days in the history of NBC Universal," said its chief executive, Steve Burke.

"The Olympics are part of the fabric of our company and we couldn't be more excited that today's announcement guarantees that this massively popular and profitable programming will continue to air every two years on the broadcast, cable, digital and mobile platforms of NBC Universal for the next two decades."

Comcast Corporation, the cable television and communications firm that bought NBC Universal in 2011, said their trust in the IOC to deliver secure and exciting Olympic events for nearly another two decades was a key part of the deal.

"Our long-term commitment to and investment in the Olympic movement are a reflection of our belief in the future of broadcast television as well as our confidence that our partners at the IOC will continue to deliver great Games and that the Olympics will remain the world's premier sports event," said Comcast chairperson Brian Roberts.

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