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Olympics Media Rights Slowing

While I am still excited for the upcoming Olympics next month, my enthusiasm for the Games has dwindled over the years.  Gone are the days of competing against the iron fist of Russia, the skiers of Norway, and the figure skaters of the world.  Now it just seems like Haley’s Comet, just another regular event that happens periodically.  And after China’s opening ceremonies, there’s no country in the world that can choreograph something of that magnitude. But I’m not the only one who is getting bored.  Other domestic media companies are slowing their backing as well.

The bottom line is that the Olympics have lost their luster.  Viewers would rather watch football or possibly even MMA fights rather than the games.  Thus, the US Olympic committee is considering delaying the bidding for US media rights for the 2014 and 2016 games.  This has hurt broadcasters (basically just NBC), who rely on this money maker as a source of solid, reliable revenue.

It’s just the state that we are in as a society.  The cost benefit of showing as many sports as possible during the games on four to five channels just is not worth all the work and expenses.  This is one of NBC’s babies and even that’s wilting…they seem like they just cannot catch a break.  What is working for them is that the games are in Vancouver, which is just a slight time difference whereas China or Barcelona are halfway around the world.  Really, the bidding on the games is a crap shoot.  News Corp’s then-ridiculous $400M bid to air NFL games has resulted in the expansion of that sport, leading to respective deals of over $4B annually.

Other companies considering Olympic bids include News Corp., Time Warner, and CBS, but I just see that as more of an empty threat.  When the chairman of NBC, Dick Ebersol, says that his company will LOSE MONEY on the Vancouver games, that’s cannot be a good sign.  So we’ll see if some channel steps up to the plate, taking over the reigns of what once used to be synonymous with NBC.

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