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CAA gets key role with IOC

September 14, 2009

CAA Sports scored its biggest media rights deal to date when the International Olympic Committee hired it to be a strategic media adviser.

The surprising move gives CAA Sports a critical role in the bidding process for Olympic media rights in the United States. The agency’s top media executives, Chris Bevilacqua and Alan Gold, essentially will be the IOC’s point men in the United States, meeting with U.S. broadcasters as they try to secure lucrative bids for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics.

The job is the first major media assignment for CAA Sports since Bevilacqua and Gold joined the agency a year ago. Bevilacqua, who had been a partner at SCP Worldwide, and Gold, former managing director of the U.S. Open Series, have worked to build an investment bank for sports media opportunities, and the IOC relationship gives them the stamp of approval from one of the world’s largest sports properties.

The IOC’s decision to hire CAA injects an element of the unknown into the bid process for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics. The IOC previously had worked with longtime TV executive Neal Pilson for the rights to the 2010 and 2012 Olympics. Pilson, the former president of CBS Sports, is well-known in U.S. media circles and familiar with top executives like Fox Sports Chairman David Hill and NBC Sports and Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol.

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The U.S. has paid the following broadcast rights:

Salt Lake City 2002 / Athens 2004 - $1.3 billion

Torino 2006 / Beijing 2008 - $1.5 billion

Vancouver 2012 / London 2012 - $2.1 billion

Sochi 2014 / ???? 2016 - ?????

My guess is that 2014/2016 will be somewhere around $2.6 billion or even more if Chicago is chosen. Brazil paid $210 million, and Spain $100.

How will this effect the IOC vote?

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As I had posted in another thread, the difference between a Chicago 2016 and a Rio 2016 will be about $160-175 million for the US rights. So that would still be an additional (I am going by the old formula of 33% going to the IOC -- but I think that has changed) $55 mil for the IOC; and $55 mil for a COC. Of course for the USOC, it would also mean more buckaroos.

So to answer SH's question, I think this will only matter to the more bottom-line conscious IOC members -- but since Brazil is in a favorable time zone for the US, this is somewhat of a diluted point at this time.

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