ESPN Still Interested In Olympics

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Awhile back, I mentioned that ESPN wasn't ruling out making a run at the Olympics in the near future, and today there comes more word about their intentions. According to USA Today, a run at the contract could come as early as 2014, and the Olympic committee has promised ESPN a seat at the discussion table....

After scoring big with its coverage of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, you'd think NBC would have the inside track on TV rights to the 2014 and 2016 games. But ESPN/ABC will likely be a strong competitor. Without blinking an eye, ESPN outbid Fox by more than $100 million for the rights to college football's Bowl Championship Series (BCS) from January 2011 to January 2014.

As it celebrates its 30th anniversary, the once rinky-dink and now incredibly deep-pocketed cable network seems hungrier for the validation an Olympics would bring. "There's no question the Olympics would continue the process of establishing ESPN as the home of championship sports and great sports," Skipper said.

The International Olympics Committee has assured ESPN, said Skipper, that it will have a seat at the table when bidding begins in earnest for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the 2016 Summer Games in a still-to-be-determined host city.

To show it has the chops to handle a global event, ESPN will give its 2010 FIFA World Cup coverage the Olympic treatment. ESPN is already planning to send anchors Chris Fowler, Mike Tirico and Bob Ley to South Africa for the entire event, said Norby Williamson, executive vice president of remote/studio production.

"What we're hoping to bring to (the World Cup) is Olympic-quality production," said Skipper. "Not just the cameras but the feel of it. That it feels big. That it feels international. That it feels about more than just competition. It's competition. But it's also culture. And human drama."
I'm telling you, ESPN will have every major Sport under their umbrella, sooner than you think. I still don't think the Olympics are as much a money maker as they used to be, but a switch in network could certainly change that.

ESPN/ABC taking aim at nabbing 2014, 2016 Olympic Games (USA Today)


Now if they can only handle soccer in the US as if they actually care...

Michael said...
Sep 9, 2009, 3:24:00 PM  

Hockey isn't under their umbrella......

49er16 said...
Sep 9, 2009, 4:40:00 PM  

As long as Stuart Scott has laryngitis for these Olympiads, it's fine with me.

Steve Smith said...
Sep 9, 2009, 4:49:00 PM  

ABC is not putting any money into an Olympics bid. All too typical of the Liberal Media to get the story wrong.

Anonymous said...
Sep 9, 2009, 7:21:00 PM  

I think its gonna stay with NBC, but they will overpay like crazy if the Olympics is in Chicago in 2016. With all the talk of ESPN buying almost every major sports property, keep this in mind that NBC has free up its 10pm time slot this fall in favor of the Jay Leno show. It could save NBC up to 3 million per day. So its likely that NBC will have plenty of money to keep the Olympics.

YasinJ said...
Sep 9, 2009, 7:53:00 PM  

Where did you get that the Olympics aren't as much of a moneymaker? Were you around last summer when NBC was smashing ratings records left and right thanks to Mr. Phelps?

A better site had a nice article about this and the 2016 Olympics in either Rio or Chicago means a live, primetime Olympics...which means $$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Sean OLeary said...
Sep 10, 2009, 10:30:00 AM  

I would love ESPN's coverage! As a west coast guy, I KNOW I'll get LIVE coverage. For me, I rather get crappy coverage that's live than great coverage that's delayed.

Patrick said...
Sep 10, 2009, 1:03:00 PM  

I would like if it stays with NBC. NBC does a great job the olympics! If ESPN and NBC shared the olympics, then I would like that. I could see ESPN do live coverage during the day, and NBC do coverage at night.

pattywagon said...
Sep 10, 2009, 11:18:00 PM  

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