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  • NBC TV Rights Bid Not Certain; SportAccord Question Time; New USOC Sponsor


    02/17/11

    NBC Chief Casts Doubt Upon TV Rights Bid

    Comcast isn’t sure the Olympics are worth NBC’s money anymore.

    “We are here to make money," NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke said Wednesday during a quarterly earnings call when analysts attempted to gauge his interest in broadcasting the Games past London 2012.

    "We're here to be disciplined. Our job is to increase value over the long term."
    Comcast appointed Burke to head NBC after its recent takeover of the U.S. network.

    Wednesday’s comments come as the IOC prepares to strike a deal for TV rights to the 2014 and 2016 Games – and perhaps beyond.

    The IOC’s lead negotiator Richard Carrion told Reuters earlier this week he expects to award the rights by July and that he’ll let the bidders determine the length of the contract.

    Expected bidders NBC, ESPN, Fox and perhaps a CBS/Turner coalition reportedly are interested in a deal that would include the 2018 and 2020 Olympics as well.

    A four-Games deal would likely surpass $4 billion, easily a record for Olympic TV rights.

    NBC paid roughly $2 billion for the 2010 and 2012 Olympics but already lost $220 million on its Vancouver coverage, a figure that seems to have the network’s new leadership weighing price versus prestige in its approach to the ongoing bid war.

    Journalists Reserve “Question Time” During SportAccord

    London's Olympic future will be up for debate when the city hosts its first SportAccord this April.

    The Sports Journalists’ Association announced Thursday that up to 200 members of the media will have the opportunity to question representatives from LOCOG, the IOC and British sporting agencies during the April 3-8 gathering of international federations.

    SJA will stage its aptly named “Sporting Question Time” on April 5 at County Hall on the South Bank. The ticketing application process will open in mid-March with priority given to media outlets already accredited to attend SportAccord. Admission is free.

    “Last year we staged a similar event with the sports spokesmen of the UK’s three leading political parties ahead of the General Election, and generated headlines for the rest of the week,” SJA chairman Barry Newcombe said in a statement.

    “We are sure that our Olympic Question Time will be just as newsworthy.”

    Panelists will be announced closer to time, and topics are expected to include ticket prices, London’s post-Olympic legacy and drug testing.

    USOC Signs First-Ever Online Broker

    TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation is the U.S. Olympic Committee’s first-ever official online broker, the first such deal born out of a recent marketing partnership between the USOC and NBC.

    The stocks giant will sponsor the USOC and 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. The agreement also includes a media buy on NBC.

    "The USOC-NBC proposition to most companies is a better and a stronger proposition than buying the rights separately and at different times," Olympics marketing veteran Rob Prazmark tells Around the Rings.

    "Previous to this effort between the USOC and NBC, it’s never been tried before. We’ve been in the marketplace for the past six months, and this is the first success that we’ve had, and we look forward to more successes."

    Prazmark, the founder and CEO of 21 Marketing, represents the USOC in its joint-marketing initiative.

    Written by Matthew Grayson and Isia Reaves Wilcox.

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