Wednesday, August 20, 2008
They've been buying up everything else lately, so why not the Olympics? At the Monday Night Football Kickoff event in New York, ESPN's George Bodenheimer confirmed that ABC/ESPN was very interested but that they were still evaluating. Via Multichannel News....
Bodenheimer -- who noted that ESPN already has a relationship with the IOC through the company’s coverage of the Games on its Brazilian networks and through its bid on the last round of U.S. TV rights -- gave thumbs up to NBC’s multiplatform presentation of the Beijing Olympics, as it mirrors the multiplatform tack ESPN embarked on more than a decade ago.It would be an interesting decision to say the least, but not one that would surprise me. Golf and Soccer have been the network's focus as of late and adding the Olympics to ESPN and ABC would be the next natural step towards world domination (I kid, I kid). I still personally think that NBC lucked out with the whole Phelps storyline, but they are still making money and are projected to hit the $1.3 Billion dollar mark soon.
“It validates the belief we had 10 years ago or more that sports fans are not just enjoying sports on television,” Bodenheimer said.
Bidding for the 2014 Games from Sochi, Russia and the 2016 Summer Olympics will likely unfold over the next six to nine months, according to ESPN officials. A firm deadline is expected by October 2009, when the IOC determines whether Rio de Janiero, Madrid, Tokyo or Chicago will host the 2016 Games.
Given NBC Universal’s ratings and digital-media success with the current Games, which held an $894 million rights fee, the bidding will likely surpass the $1 billion mark, a floor ESPN is bracing for.
“If I was holding the auction, I would definitely want to hold it after this Olympics,” said ESPN vice president of content John Skipper.
The IOC also does not give the current network the right to negotiate first. This is obviously a long way off, and would certainly depend on the success of the 2012 Games and the potential of Chicago getting the bid, but the 2016 Summer Games could be coming to Disney.
ESPN To Make Olympics Play (Multichannel News)