NBCU set to lose money on Olympics


The Olympic Games draw lots of viewers and lots of advertising dollars to NBC. But the broadcast rights also cost big bucks, not to mention the huge cost of producing all that live programming over the course of a few days. So, General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt says the Winter Olympics in Vancouver will be a loss leader in 2010.

Immelt made the revelation in his annual meeting with GE shareholders to discuss the company’s financial picture across its wide range of assets.

“It’s a difficult sales environment for a big event,” Immelt said of the upcoming Olympics in Canada. So, he expects NBCU to loose “a couple of hundred million bucks” on the Winter Games.

Despite the pending deal to take on Comcast as the 51% owner of NBCU, the company will still be owned 80% by GE (and 20% by Vivendi) well past when the Olympics take place February 12-28, 2010.

Immelt told his investors that 2010 profits for all of GE look to be pretty flat compared to 2009. NBCU, though, is expected to earn less, about $2.0 billion in 2010, down from an anticipated $2.2 billion this year.