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IOC Changes Broadcast Rights Sales

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is changing the way it sells TV rights to the rest of the world, following its $2.2 billion contract with NBC for the U.S. rights.

Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC, said the committee will open the bidding to all interested broadcasters for auction, following the same system it used for the U.S. rights negotiations.

The Associated Press says the move will have a particular impact in Europe, where Olympic rights have traditionally been granted in a bloc to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), a consortium of networks including the BBC.

According to the Associated Press, the decision opens the possibility of the IOC selling rights on a country-by-country basis, including to satellite companies such as Rupert Murdoch’s British Sky Broadcasting.

Rogge told the Associated Press, “we want an open and fair competition. Everyone will be allowed to bid”.

The EBU represents 49 countries and paid $578 million for rights to the Turn 2006 Inter Games, and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Also, because the 2010 Winter Games will be held in Vancouver, with six European cities in the bidding, Eurpean broadcasters will be very interested in winning the TV rights.

IOC marketing director Michael Payne said, “the EBU is one option. It has been one of our very strong partners, but nobody should assume it’s the only option”.

The rights for Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Asia, South America and Africa will also be up for sale.

Rogge told the Associated Press that IOC experts will study the markets in different regions before going to a formal bid process. He said he hopes some deals will be completed by next summer’s Athens Games. Write or read comments about this article

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