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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Rio's win will cost U.S. broadcast deal worth less

COPENHAGEN — The cost of Chicago's defeat in its bid to host the 2016 Olympics will be felt in the value of the next U.S. broadcast deal.

The International Olympic Committee's top negotiator said the U.S. rights are worth less after the 2016 Games were awarded to Rio de Janeiro.

"Obviously, the domestic games would be more valuable," IOC finance commission chairman Richard Carrion told The Associated Press.

And the American deal — the most lucrative in the IOC's portfolio — might not be done for another three years if the economy doesn't improve.

"We have plenty of time and it doesn't have to be in 2010. We could conceivably do a deal as late as 2012," Carrion said.

U.S. networks including NBC, ABC-ESPN and Fox were expected to enter a bidding war for combined rights to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and a 2016 Chicago games.

NBC paid $2.2 billion for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and 2012 London Games.

The IOC gets more than half its revenue from broadcasting deals, and U.S. deals alone have been worth more than the rest of the world's broadcasters combined.

Carrion, an IOC Executive Board member from Puerto Rico, said the timing of U.S. negotiations was not dictated by Friday's host vote. Rio defeated Madrid 66-32 in the final round of voting after Chicago was eliminated first, before Tokyo also fell out of the race.

"I've always said it's more a matter of where the economy is heading rather than the selection of the host city," Carrion said.

Carrion did not expect the popularity of the Olympics to suffer a backlash from American viewers and advertisers after the manner of Chicago's defeat.

"It's still a premium brand. I would not read much into it that they were eliminated in the first round," Carrion said.

Just 18 of 95 IOC voters supported Chicago despite personal pleas in the final presentation Friday from President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.

"I don't think this will affect the television discussions," he said. "This is a competition like any competition. But there is only one gold medal, and no silver and bronze."

He said Rio's time zone, one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time in New York City, was "not bad" for the American market.

A likely drop in American revenues would be partly compensated by rising revenues from Brazil.

In August, the IOC completed a $170 million rights sale to Brazilian broadcasters TV Globo, Bandeirantes and Rede Record to show events from Sochi and what will now be the home Rio Games.

Timo Lumme, the IOC's director of television and marketing, described that deal Sunday as a "huge evolution" from previous agreements.

Brazilian broadcasters paid $10 million for the combined 2006 Turin Winter Olympics and 2008 Beijing Games cycle, then $60 million for Vancouver and London.

Lumme said the Brazilians were bidding blind before the 2016 host vote.

"It was a good bet by them," Lumme told the AP. "It's turned out they are in Rio and we hope they go on to make a good return."

from the associated press

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