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Dick Ebersol resigning from NBC Sports


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I hate to say this, but here is one potential problem for anyone bidding: at least one of the Games, the WOG in Sochi, is almost guaranteed to be a loss Games because a.) it's an unknown area for the US television markets(remember, no US network televised the Moscow Games beyond highlights because of the boycott) and b.) aside from maybe Apolo Ono and Lindsey Vohn, I am not sure how many "stories" there are for these Games.

Now, the IOC knows this I suspect and will try one of two strategies: shine the apple that is Rio up real nice and hope they get a big bite for it or hope that the bidders might be more interested in going for the 4 games deal rather than 2 games deal. True, it will cost more, but getting two SOGs may help defray any losses incumbered by Sochi or whomever 2018 goes to.

Of course, that theory collapses if Munich gets 2018, but that's beside the point. Then again, I also wonder that whatever network gets the contract might have any influence on where 2018 and 2020 head next. Not unheard of, I am sure.

I'm sure the networks know what they're getting into with Sochi and it's not unprecedented for the rights fee to go down from 1 Olympics to the next. There's no guarantee the winning network will lose money, it's all about how much they bid. As to what the storylines will be, it's still too early to tell what they'll be. But NBC (or whoever the winning network is) has always found something or someone to promote. I'm sure Sochi will be no different.

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Cable ratings for a lot of events still lag behind that on the networks. Ratings for NFL games on CBS, Fox, and NBC are still well ahead of what ESPN gets. Certain events translate over to cable better than others, but ESPN is a male-oriented sports network. So take programming like the Olympics that appeals to a female demographic and the ratings will drop pretty drastically if you send it over to cable. I've made that exact same point many times before about 1988. It wasn't even so much that they were broadcasting at odd hours (remember that they got a lot of key event finals moved to US primetime, included most of the big track & field events) but more that they were trying to appeal to the wrong audience. That's exactly the mistake ESPN is going to make and it'll only be worse with a Winter Olympics 9 hours ahead of the East coast of the United States. I've been saying it for a while now and my feelings haven't changed.. an ESPN Sochi Olympics has epic failure written all over it.

That's true--NBC chose to put track & field and boxing in primetime and left most of the swimming and gymnastics--the events that appeal most to women--for late night and morning. I remember Ebersol said once in an interview (even though he didn't produce those Games) that for every minute NBC showed boxing in Seoul, it lost almost 40% of its female audience. ESPN will have the same problem, only it will be even worse since most women don't watch ESPN in the first place. I remember in 2005 when ESPN launched a "welcome ladies" ad campaign surrounding their coverage of figure skating, women's golf, and women's basketball. The ratings tanked--figure skating got 1/5th the viewership on ESPN that it had on ABC the year earlier--and ESPN ended up dumping figure skating and the LPGA tour very quickly.

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I'm sure the networks know what they're getting into with Sochi and it's not unprecedented for the rights fee to go down from 1 Olympics to the next. There's no guarantee the winning network will lose money, it's all about how much they bid. As to what the storylines will be, it's still too early to tell what they'll be. But NBC (or whoever the winning network is) has always found something or someone to promote. I'm sure Sochi will be no different.

From what I've read, NBC/Comcast is the network that has been pushing the most for a 2014-2020 package instead of just 2014/2016 because that will give them a much better chance at making money off of the entire deal. I think anything above $600 million for Sochi is going to result in a significant loss for the network given the lack of any live primetime coverage and the additional expenses of broadcasting from Russia.

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From what I've read, NBC/Comcast is the network that has been pushing the most for a 2014-2020 package instead of just 2014/2016 because that will give them a much better chance at making money off of the entire deal. I think anything above $600 million for Sochi is going to result in a significant loss for the network given the lack of any live primetime coverage and the additional expenses of broadcasting from Russia.

My estimate from about a year ago was that the combined rights for 2014 and 2016 would be about $1.7 billion. Judging by the numbers, NBC generated about $600 million in net revenue from Vancouver (down from about $660 in Torino.. that's how bad the economy hurt NBC that had absolutely nothing to do with the over-bid). Unless the economy turns around, they won't do much better from Sochi unless Comcast knows some secret that Dick Ebersol didn't. Remains to be seen how NBC does from London. Their net revenue from Beijing was around $1 billion, so I could see Rio being similar, again all depends on the economy.

I had thought the IOC would be reluctant to do a long term deal here. The whole reason they waited for 2014/2016 was because of the recession or else they'd have had this done a year ago. I guess we'll know for sure in the next month or so if not sooner. Then question then becomes, if this is the case.. does the IOC take a higher price for 2 Olympics or a lower price if they can lock in all 4. I still think it would be the former. As we know from these negotiations, things aren't always as they seem.

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My estimate from about a year ago was that the combined rights for 2014 and 2016 would be about $1.7 billion. Judging by the numbers, NBC generated about $600 million in net revenue from Vancouver (down from about $660 in Torino.. that's how bad the economy hurt NBC that had absolutely nothing to do with the over-bid). Unless the economy turns around, they won't do much better from Sochi unless Comcast knows some secret that Dick Ebersol didn't. Remains to be seen how NBC does from London. Their net revenue from Beijing was around $1 billion, so I could see Rio being similar, again all depends on the economy.

I had thought the IOC would be reluctant to do a long term deal here. The whole reason they waited for 2014/2016 was because of the recession or else they'd have had this done a year ago. I guess we'll know for sure in the next month or so if not sooner. Then question then becomes, if this is the case.. does the IOC take a higher price for 2 Olympics or a lower price if they can lock in all 4. I still think it would be the former. As we know from these negotiations, things aren't always as they seem.

Last I saw was the IOC prefered a two Games deal, but was willing to do four. Sounds to me like they are hedging their bets and would prefer to lock up something long term, just to avoid going through this all over again in 2017.

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Last I saw was the IOC prefered a two Games deal, but was willing to do four. Sounds to me like they are hedging their bets and would prefer to lock up something long term, just to avoid going through this all over again in 2017.

I think the IOC wants all the cash it can get before 2020 when TOP ends.

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I had thought the IOC would be reluctant to do a long term deal here. The whole reason they waited for 2014/2016 was because of the recession or else they'd have had this done a year ago. I guess we'll know for sure in the next month or so if not sooner. Then question then becomes, if this is the case.. does the IOC take a higher price for 2 Olympics or a lower price if they can lock in all 4. I still think it would be the former. As we know from these negotiations, things aren't always as they seem.

If NBC or ESPN offers something in the neighborhood of $4 billion for 2014-2020, I think the IOC will take it. Who knows what the economy will be like in 2-3 years, and if Sochi ends up being a huge or even moderate loss, then the IOC runs the risk of having to take a very low bid for 2018. Even with the looming recession, I think the IOC would have been in a better position if they had done the 2014-16 rights sometime in 2007 or 2008, before NBC lost so much money on Vancouver. The networks are in the driver's seat this time, and I don't think the IOC is going to get what they're hoping for (at least $2 billion for 2014-16).

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If NBC or ESPN offers something in the neighborhood of $4 billion for 2014-2020, I think the IOC will take it. Who knows what the economy will be like in 2-3 years, and if Sochi ends up being a huge or even moderate loss, then the IOC runs the risk of having to take a very low bid for 2018. Even with the looming recession, I think the IOC would have been in a better position if they had done the 2014-16 rights sometime in 2007 or 2008, before NBC lost so much money on Vancouver. The networks are in the driver's seat this time, and I don't think the IOC is going to get what they're hoping for (at least $2 billion for 2014-16).

Hindsight as always is 20/20. Clearly the IOC would have done a lot better for themselves if they had gotten a deal done in 2007, before the economy collapsed and when Chicago was still in play for 2016. I don't know I'd put it that the networks are in the driver's seat, but I think even the IOC knows they may not get what they're trying to convince everyone they're expecting. Always seems to be a lot of politicking surrounding these negotiations and this one certainly won't be an exception.

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$12 billion. At least that.

Seriously baron, why do you bother? Isn't there some better use of your time that you could have spent more wisely instead of the 30 seconds it took you to post that?

27,461 and counting!

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2 good articles from Sports Business Journal talking about and handicapping the Olympic TV negotiations coming up next week..

http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2011/05/30/Olympics/Bidding-main.aspx

Olympic Bidders: How They Stack Up At The Table

The articles underscore 1 common theme, that it's anyone's game at this point. I still consider NBC the front-runner and think they'll wind up winning, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see either ESPN or Fox come out on top.

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I don't see FOX winning unless the bids are extraordinarily low. I think they're more likely to play the role of driving up the bids from ESPN and NBC. With GE willing to match a possible sponsorship offer from Disney, I think the IOC will stick with NBC unless ESPN's bid is significantly higher. Plus, NBC needs the Olympics the most--if Comcast wants to build up its sports properties, it doesn't have many other opportunities in the next 5 years. Most of the professional sports leagues have long-term contracts lasting through at least 2014, if not longer, and the NBA, MLB, etc., are more likely to lose money than the Olympics.

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2 good articles from Sports Business Journal talking about and handicapping the Olympic TV negotiations coming up next week..

http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2011/05/30/Olympics/Bidding-main.aspx

Olympic Bidders: How They Stack Up At The Table

The articles underscore 1 common theme, that it's anyone's game at this point. I still consider NBC the front-runner and think they'll wind up winning, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see either ESPN or Fox come out on top.

From the second article:

ESPN owns more sports rights than any other network. How will it juggle MLB games with 26 sporting events taking place nonstop in Rio de Janeiro in the summer of 2016? Where will it put NBA and NCAA basketball games during Sochi in February 2014?

I'm sure ESPN will work something out with MLB, NBA and the NCAA.

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I'm sure ESPN will work something out with MLB, NBA and the NCAA.

MLB and the NBA won't be an issue. The NCAA could be a little tougher since ESPN has contracts with all the individual conferences and most of them are for multiple games a week, not 3-4 like it is with baseball and pro basketball. So that's not so simple for them to solve, so I'm sure it's either something they'll have to address in their presentation or the IOC will ask them about. Remember also that ESPN has their syndication and regional deals, so that could come into play as well. ESPN has a very full plate during the month of February, so it's not that automatic for them to be able to squeeze an event like the Olympics into that, even with the 9-hour time difference to Sochi and the promise of live coverage

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So according to the latest Sports Business Daily article (don't have the full version, only the shortened non-subscriber version), Fox is making the first of the presentations to the IOC, they go first on Monday. ABC/ESPN then goes Tuesday morning followed by NBC/Comcast after them. I read elsewhere that the expectation is that the IOC will hold a press conference with the winning bidder Tuesday evening in Lausanne (mid-afternoon here in the US). So it looks we will officially have a winner 6 days from today!

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So according to the latest Sports Business Daily article (don't have the full version, only the shortened non-subscriber version), Fox is making the first of the presentations to the IOC, they go first on Monday. ABC/ESPN then goes Tuesday morning followed by NBC/Comcast after them. I read elsewhere that the expectation is that the IOC will hold a press conference with the winning bidder Tuesday evening in Lausanne (mid-afternoon here in the US). So it looks we will officially have a winner 6 days from today!

I'm actually pulling for NBC, just because, I'm waaaay to used to the commentators and I won't like it with all new people. I need Bob Costas as the overall host and Dan Hicks on swimming. I've been hearing those voices for so long it won't be the same for me without them. And that goes for Chris Collingsworth and Jimmy Roberts, and the others too.

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I'm actually pulling for NBC, just because, I'm waaaay to used to the commentators and I won't like it with all new people. I need Bob Costas as the overall host and Dan Hicks on swimming. I've been hearing those voices for so long it won't be the same for me without them. And that goes for Chris Collingsworth and Jimmy Roberts, and the others too.

I think NBC would do ok. I just hated how smug Ebersol was, and I wanted him to get smacked down, now that he's out of the picture they're all good choices. I also really hope the IOC gets smacked down with super low bids. Besides that I just enjoy FOX more than NBC so I think I'd like them, but any of them would be fine I think.

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I think NBC would do ok. I just hated how smug Ebersol was, and I wanted him to get smacked down, now that he's out of the picture they're all good choices. I also really hope the IOC gets smacked down with super low bids. Besides that I just enjoy FOX more than NBC so I think I'd like them, but any of them would be fine I think.

NBC losing more than $200 million on Vancouver wasn't enough of a smack down for you?

Perhaps we'll get some insight into a post-Ebersol NBC from this. I still consider them the favorite even in spite of everything that has happened in the past couple of weeks because I still have serious doubts about Disney and Fox. I'm all for change, but not when the change is going to be bad and I think it would be if NBC is out of the picture after 2012.

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NBC losing more than $200 million on Vancouver wasn't enough of a smack down for you?

Perhaps we'll get some insight into a post-Ebersol NBC from this. I still consider them the favorite even in spite of everything that has happened in the past couple of weeks because I still have serious doubts about Disney and Fox. I'm all for change, but not when the change is going to be bad and I think it would be if NBC is out of the picture after 2012.

No I think the $200 million and the future 2012 loss is pretty good comeuppance. But we'll see bitten once twice shy, or brand new Ferrari's for the guys in Switzerland lol.

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OK, just rough guessing...

ABC/ESPN - $2 bil

Comcast/NBC - $1.9 bil

Fox - $2.1 bil.

If that's the case, we may not have a winner on Tuesday. I'd bet anything if the numbers are that close that the IOC would go to either ESPN or NBComcast and say "do you want to raise your offer at all?" This may be a sealed bid process, but no one said the IOC has to accept the first offer if they think they can squeeze a few more bucks out of a prospective winner.

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If that's the case, we may not have a winner on Tuesday. I'd bet anything if the numbers are that close that the IOC would go to either ESPN or NBComcast and say "do you want to raise your offer at all?" This may be a sealed bid process, but no one said the IOC has to accept the first offer if they think they can squeeze a few more bucks out of a prospective winner.

No. But no one has said that anyone has to jump either because the IOC says 'jump.'

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