NBC Universal will no doubt be a strong bidder to retain its long-held US broadcast rights to the Olympic Games. But USA Today reports that Disney’s ESPN/ABC is ready to bid aggressively for the 2014 and 20116 games. Fox and CBS are also expected to bid.
This is not a game for small players. NBCU is believed to have bid $2 billion for the rights to the 2010 and 2012 games. And despite the recession, the International Olympic Committee won’t be offering any discounts.
The USA Today article focused primarily on the growing clout of ESPN, noting that it had upped the previous Fox contract by $100 million to grab the college football Bowl Championship Series (BCS), beginning next season.
The 2014 Winter Games will be in Sochi, Russia and the host city for the 2016 Summer Games is still to be decided. Then the bidding can begin. “We’ll be there,” ESPN Exec. VP of Content John Skipper was quoted as saying in the USA Today article.
RBR/TVBR observation: Given its limited cable presence, we wonder if CBS is lining up any partner(s) for an Olympic bid. NBCU has certainly set the bar high for delivering nearly all Olympic events to fans across broadcast, cable and online platforms.