Advanced Television

US Olympics want their own TV channels

December 1, 2010

By Chris Forrester

Reuters annual Global Media Summit heard plans from the US Olympic Committee (USOC) to launch their own cable channels for Olympic Games coverage. Currently NBC has the sole US television rights for the Games, but the 2014 Winter Games and 2016 Summer Olympics have yet to be offered to broadcasters.

Scott Blackmun, Chief Executive of the USOC, said that he also wants to discuss the planned network with Comcast once it completes the buyout of NBC Universal. NBC paid $2bn for the TV rights to the 2008 and 2010 events. Blackmun said he will open discussions with the IOC in the New Year.

However, the USOC isn’t the sole decider. The core International Olympic Committee will have its own thoughts on such plans. The USOC seeks to match the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball’s dedicated TV channels with a similar full-time service offering news reports, commentary, documentaries and classic Games footage. The USOC had to abort plans formulated in 2009 when the IOC disagreed with the concept.

“Inevitably when we sit down to talk to the IOC about revenue sharing, this would have to be something we discuss as well,” he told Reuters. “There are a lot of people in the IOC who understand the value a network can bring.”

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