Last Updated Jun 8, 2011 3:08 PM EDT
NBC just paid $4.38 billion for the rights to broadcast the next four Olympics. It has lost or expects to lose at least $500 million on the 2010 and 2012 Games. You do the math. So far no one at NBC has offered a coherent explanation of why next time will be different. An unnamed executive told The Wall Street Journal that the network will
- Spread its coverage across its cable, broadcast and digital outlets; and
- Get more money via advertising and increased fees from its local affiliates and cable.
- This is different from what you've done before ... how?
- See above.
The locations of these four games are also problematic for any U.S. broadcaster. While the 2016 Summer Games are in Rio De Janeiro, which is in the same time zone as the Midwest, the 2014 ones will be held in Sochi, Russia, which is eight hours ahead of the East Coast. Sites for the two games after that still haven't been picked but South Korea is seen as in the lead for 2018. It is 14 hours ahead of East Coast time, which would mean very few live events for prime-time here in the States.
How bad does a deal have to be to be considered a breach of fiduciary responsibility? Were I a Comcast stockholder, I'd find that question very interesting right now.