For $7.75 billion, NBC has extended its U.S. broadcast rights for the Olympics through 2032 without going through a bidding process.
The new deal NBC and the International Olympic Committee announced Wednesday covers 2021-32, including three more Winter and three more Summer Games.
The IOC, which owns the rights, clearly chose long-term security and familiarity over the potential to capitalize on the explosive growth of sports television rights through open bidding or a shorter deal.
NBC will pay an average of $1.1 billion per Olympics for the four Games from 2014 through 2020. The network will pay about $1.25 billion per Games for the following six, which represents about a 14 percent increase.
By comparison, Major League Baseball more than doubled its annual rights fees — to $1.5 billion — in its most recent deals with ESPN, Turner and Fox, signed in October 2012. NASCAR got a 46 percent increase to $820 million a year in its new deal with NBC and Fox, announced last summer.
When the new Olympic deal ends, NBC will have broadcast 23 Summer and Winter Games.
The deal emphasizes again that the United States remains overwhelmingly the major pillar of financial support for the IOC, especially in terms of broadcast rights. Whether that finally will redound to the benefit of a future U.S. bid to host an Oympics remains to be seen.
The U.S. Olympic Committee is to decide by the end of this year whether to submit a bid for the 2024 Summer Games. Its last two bids, by New York for 2012 and Chicago for 2016, suffered humiliating defeats at the hands of IOC members, partly over discontent about the USOC share of U.S. broadcast rights, which since has been reduced slightly.
The USOC share still will be about $1 billion over the term of the 2021-32 deal.
Asked by the Chicago Tribune during a conference call Wednesday whether this new U.S. broadcast deal means a 2024 U.S. bidder should be rewarded, IOC President Thomas Bach reiterated his previous statement that a strong U.S. bid would be welcomed and a “very strong competitor.”
USOC Chairman Larry Probst, also on the conference call, thanked the Tribune for asking the question.
“I completely agree with your sentiment,” he said, getting laughs from the NBC and IOC officials listening.
NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus pointed out that the deal was made without knowing the site of any of the six Olympics involved.