NBC Tightens Grip on Olympics for Next Nine Years

10 June 2003

NBC, the largest of America’s big four broadcast television networks, on Friday tightened the grip it holds on the nation’s Olympic programming.

Yet again, NBC topped all bids for the US media rights – including those from Fox and ABC/ESPN – offering a total of $2.201 billion (€1.877bn; £1.333bn), including $2.001bn in TV rights.

The deal includes the winter and summer Olympics in 2010-2012, continuing the monopoly NBC already holds for the 2006 and 2008 events. Its latest offer tops that for the earlier games by 46%.

With cash-registers glinting in his eyes, International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge thanked “our Olympic partner, NBC, [which] brings maximum exposure for the Olympic Games”.

NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol was similarly overcome: “We're thrilled to continue our relationship with the International Olympic Committee. We value this relationship above all others.”

As indeed, does NBC parent General Electric, who also gains the right to exploit this planetary sporting event. Ebersol wiped a tear of filial gratitude from his eye: “GE has been our backer in this and for that we're particularly grateful.”

Still dabbing, he continued: “In a meeting with the IOC, we were told that these Olympics would not be just an American network TV deal but a company-wide deal.”

CBS dropped out of the bidding frenzy earlier this week, reluctant to commit such huge sums to events seven and nine years distant; while AOL Time Warner's Turner Sports withdrew in May after the IOC unsportingly insisted its bid include a broadcast network.

Data sourced from: USA Today; additional content by WARC staff