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Fox bids on four Olympics

June 7, 2011

By Colin Mann

US network Fox has made its pitch for the next set of US Olympic television rights, saying it wants to bid on a four-games package through to 2020.

Fox sports chairman David Hill led a six-man delegation that made a two-hour presentation to IOC officials in Lausanne, seeking to secure the first games in the US for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Fox is competing against incumbent NBC and ESPN/ABC, which will make their case to the IOC Tuesday June 7.

Up for grabs are rights to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The networks can also bid on the 2018 and 2020 Games, whose sites have not been selected.

Hill confirmed that Fox is seeking a four-games deal. “If you advertise over four games rather than two, you’re financially in a much better place,” he said.

“We’ve got three very, very strong competitive bidders,” IOC marketing director Timo Lumme told The Associated Press. “Everyone has indicated they’re here to win. We look forward to an exciting and competitive process.”

The auction is the first for US rights since 2003, when NBC secured the 2010 and 2012 Olympics in a deal worth $2.2 billion. The IOC says it hopes to surpass that sum this time round. If the IOC agrees to a four-games deal, the figure could potentially run between $4-5 billion.

“Yes, we’re expecting an increase,” Lumme said. “What that increase is we don’t know. There’s every indication to show that premium sports retains a very, very important position in the programming strategies of the networks.”

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