Comcast's NBC Sports Group has retained the U.S. media rights to the 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 Olympics, outbidding Disney's ESPN/ABC and News Corp.'s Fox Sports.
With the $4.4 billion win, Comcast has jumped into the ranks of this nation's Olympic telecasters, as its NBCUniversal programming unit will extend its Games streak to 11 consecutive quadrennials with its coverage of the Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia in 2014 and the Summer competition two years later from Rio de Janeiro, as well as the competitions in 2018 and 2020. The sites of the latter two Games have not yet been determined. NBC Sports Groups will televise the 2012 London Games next summer.
The parties had gathered in Lausanne, Switzerland, home of the International Olympic Committee, on June 6 and 7, to make their presentations.
Many had thought NBCU's ability to again secure the Games' rights had been compromised by the May 19 resignation of the sports group chairman Dick Ebersol, this nation's foremost Olympic advocate, and because Comcast officials had spoke about exercising fiscal discipline in bidding before the IOC.
Both Fox and ESPN issued statement, extending congratulations to the victor.
Said Fox Sports Media Group Chairman David Hill: "We congratulate NBC/Comcast and would like to thank President Rogge, Richard Carrion and the IOC Executive Committee for giving us the opportunity to participate in the process, demonstrating how FOX Sports would produce the Olympic Games, provide wide distribution, the largest marketing platform ever and an economic package we believed to be good for the IOC and News Corp."
Noted ESPN: "We made a disciplined bid that would have brought tremendous value to the Olympics and would have been profitable for our company. To go any further would not have made good business sense for us. We wish to congratulate the IOC on a fair and transparent process, and we offer our best wishes to Comcast/NBC. We put our best foot forward with a compelling offer that included the enthusiastic participation of all of The Walt Disney Company's considerable assets."
Check back at www.multichannel.com for more details of this developing story.
The IOC has set a press conference for 2 p.m. (ET) to provide more details.
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