12.26.2008 08:51 AM
CBS, Time Warner jointly pursue Olympics rights to defray cost

The Associated Press reported that CBS and Turner Networks (owned by Time Warner, parent to CNN) are considering a joint bid for the U.S. broadcast rights for the 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games.

The XXII Olympic Winter Games will be held Feb. 7-23, 2014, in and around the host city, Sochi, Russia. The 2016 Summer Olympics will be selected from a finalist list that includes Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.

At this point, the discussions are at the very early stages, and no specific plans or dollar amounts have been made public.

NBC Universal has the rights up to the 2012 games, beating out FOX and ESPN/ABC with a $2.2 billion bid back in June 2003. NBC has had rights to the games since 1988. Considering the ratings and financial success (more than $1 billion in revenue) it had across its broadcast, cable and online platforms, competition for the rights looks to be fierce. In addition, ratings for the Summer Games exceeded expectations by 20 percent.

The idea of a joint partnership or collaborative deal spreads the burden of the multibillion-dollar Olympics Games investment and could be matched by other parties. In today's economic climate, it makes a lot of sense to share the load, as well as the potential profits.

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