NBC acquires Olympics broadcast rights through 2032

Wednesday May 7th, 2014

NBC has broadcast every Olympics in the U.S. since CBS aired the Nagano Games in 1998.
Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

NBC will remain the U.S. television home of the Olympic Games through 2032.

The International Olympic Committee announced Wednesday that it had extended its broadcast rights deal with NBC through 2032. Both NBC and the IOC said the deal was worth $7.65 billion including a $100 million signing bonus to be used for the promotion of the Olympics and the Olympic values between 2015 and 2020. The extension, which runs from 2021 to 2032, includes the broadcast rights across all media platforms, including free-to-air television, subscription television, internet and mobile. In 2011 NBC paid $4.38 billion to acquire the rights to broadcast the Olympic Games until 2020 (including Rio De Janeiro in 2016; Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018; and Tokyo in 2020).

"The Games are very important piece of media real estate for us," said Mark Lazarus, the NBC Sports Group chairman.

IOC president Thomas Bach said he a handful of other IOC members floated the idea for an extension last November during a dinner with NBC executives in New York City. The parties followed up on the initial conversations in February during the Sochi Games. Bach said the final parts of the deal were constructed on Wednesday morning, with the lawyers coming in from both entities.

By 2032, NBC will have covered 23 Olympics since its first Games broadcast in Tokyo in 1964 In addition, NBC has acquired the broadcast rights for every edition of the Youth Olympic Games through to 2032. "The level of investment we paid in 2011 combined with this investment shows the value we see in this property," said Lazarus.

Unlike other Olympic rights, there was no auction or open bidding this time.

One of the interesting subplots of the deal is how does it impact the prospect of the United States hosting an Olympics in 2024. Keep in mind that NBC's dollars are the most significant part of the IOC's revenue. "We certainly would be supportive of a Games in the States and we think it would be good for our business but this deal was made without knowledge of where these games will be," said Lazarus. "We believe the USOC will do their due diligence and make their decisions but our success with the Games has never been contingent on the location."

USOC president Larry Probst said that he expected a decision on whether the U.S. would bid on a 2024 Games by the end of the year. "Obviously we think this is a terrific deal for all involved," Probst said. "It obviously helps to insure the longterm finanical support for our athletes and high-performance programs. With regard to a 2024 bid, we are continuing with the process, we have met with multiple cities and we will continue to have those discussions. We hope to make a decision by the end of the year whether we will bid at all and which city we will move forward with."

During a conference call on Wednesday afternoon featuring NBC executives and IOC brass, the mood was, not surprisingly, filled with spring love.

"Although the no one can be quite sure of the world in 2032, one thing our company is very sure of is the Olympics," said Brian Roberts, the CEO and Chairman of Comcast.

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