One of the big questions for Comcast after it closes on its merger with NBC Universal will be whether to bid at the International Olympic Committee’s auction for media rights to the 2014 and 2016 games, writes The New York Times‘ Richard Sandomir.
While Comcast understands the importance of sports, it’s "done little to tip its Olympic intentions," he writes. "Comcast has reason to be cautious about plunging into Olympic economics, where the cost of buying media rights in the United States has soared almost without a dip since CBS paid $50,000 for the 1960 Winter Games in Squaw Valley, Calif."
Moreover, NBC lost $223 million on the 2010 games, partially because of the high price it paid to air the games, and the network could lose even more on the 2012 Olympics in London because of the $1.18 billion rights fee, the highest ever, the article notes.
While the IOC has delayed the 2014 and 2016 auction for media rights because of the recession, it’s expected that as early as next spring media hopefuls including ESPN, Fox and possibly a joint CBS-Turner Sports bid will be competing for the rights, the article notes.