In a move that was largely unexpected in the wake of cost-cutting talk by new corporate owner Comcast and the recent departure of NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol, NBC pulled off an upset by outbidding ESPN and Fox for rights to the four Olympic Games scheduled for 2014 through 2020, SB Nation reported.
NBC will pay a reported $4.38 billion for the four events.
Says the article, "According to the Sports Business Journal [which is behind a firewall for paid subscribers only], the bids from ESPN and Fox fell short of the $2.2 billion that the IOC is receiving for the 2010 and 2012 Games. Combined with the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2012 Summer Olympics, NBC will pay $6.58 billion to broadcast six Olympics Games. Considering that both Fox and ESPN did not meet the current deal, and knowing NBC lost over $200 million on the Vancouver Games, it’s safe to say that NBC is set on continuing to drive up the bid price, even without Dick Ebersol."
The Associated Press first reported that NBC had won the Olympics bid.
ESPN released a statement saying, "We made a disciplined bid that would have brought tremendous value to the Olympics and would have been profitable for our company. To go any further would not have made good business sense for us. We wish to congratulate the IOC on a fair and transparent process, and we offer our best wishes to Comcast/NBC. We put our best foot forward with a compelling offer that included the enthusiastic participation of all of The Walt Disney Company’s considerable assets."
In other major sports news today Tiger Woods has announced that he will not play in the U.S. Open, one of golf’s premier events, scheduled for later this month. On his website Woods wrote, "I am extremely disappointed that I won’t be playing in the U.S. Open, but it’s time for me to listen to my doctors and focus on the future. I was hopeful that I could play, but if I did, I risk further damage to my left leg. My knee and Achilles tendon are not fully healed. I hope to be ready for AT&T National, the next two majors and the rest of the year."
Though Woods has struggled with his golf game in the past year, historically his absence in tournaments has usually meant that ratings are not as high as when he plays.