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  • IOC Negotiator Likes Comcast Deal


    12/04/09

    IOC Finance Commission chair Richard Carrion says Comcast’s purchase of NBC will be a good thing in NBC’s broadcasting rights negotiations. (ATR/Panasonic:Lumix)
    (ATR) The IOC’s lead negotiator for the U.S. TV rights to the Olympics tells Around the Rings that the change in ownership of U.S. rights holder NBC from GE to cable giant Comcast would appear to be a positive move.

    “This deal, from Comcast’s point of view, is all about content. In that sense, I can’t see how it would be anything but positive regarding NBC’s interest in continuing as an Olympic broadcaster, says Richard Carrion via email.

    “However, all this is speculation until the bidding for the 2014-2016 U.S. rights takes place and that may occur well before the deal is approved by the FCC,” says the IOC member from Puerto Rico and chair of the IOC Finance Commission .

    In addition to the Federal Communications Commission, the Justice Department is expected to review the Comcast deal before approval, a process that could last a year.

    Comcast and GE announced Thursday that they had come to terms on the sale of NBC. Comcast, the biggest cable operator in the U.S., will acquire a 51 percent stake in NBC with GE holding a 49 percent share. The value of the deal is estimated at $13.75 billion,

    Executives with GE and NBC say they plan to bid for the U.S. rights to the 2014 and 2016 Olympics, regardless of the pending sale.

    In a statement to employees issued Thursday, NBC President Jeff Zucker said that until the proposed Comcast sale is finalized “it remains business
    as usual for NBC”.

    “We’re excited for the next year and 2012, said Zucker, referring to the last two Olympics under NBC’s current contract with IOC.

    Zucker says NBC will bid for 2014 and 2016, expected to be negotiated in the first half of 2010, likely months before approval of the Comcast transaction by government regulators.

    The New York Times reports that GE chairman Jeffrey Immelt says that the company may consult with Comcast on major NBC decisions while the deal is pending. The U.S. TV rights for 2014 and 2016 could top $1 billion.

    Along with NBC, U.S. networks ABC/ESPN, CBS and Fox are expected to enter the bidding for the Sochi Winter Olympics and the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

    Philadelphia-based Comcast says in a statement that the NBC acquisition is “the perfect fit for Comcast and will allow us to become a leader in the development and distribution of multiplatform ‘anytime, anywhere’ media that American consumers are demanding”.

    The company has yet to make any statements on its interest in the Olympics rights held by NBC since 1988 for the Summer Games and 1998 for the Winter Olympics.

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    Written by Ed Hula.

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