LAUSANNE, Switzerland, May 7. CALL it a monopoly or the start of a global sports broadcasting empire. The International Olympic Committee today announced that NBCUniversal will be the sole broadcasting entity for all IOC-related events on American television and Internet platforms through 2032.
NBCUniversal had previously paid a hefty sum to get the Olympic Games broadcast rights through the 2020 Games, but today signed a deal worth more than US$7.6 billion to extend that for 12 years. Though airing the Olympics in the United States for the next 18 years is a major chunk of the deal, the agreement also allows NBCUniversal to broadcast the Youth Olympic Games, which will be held this summer, as well as in 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030.
Though the NBC network is the flagship station for NBCUniversal, the corporation has many more TV channels on which to air hundreds of hours of competition, as evidenced over the years since they took over broadcasting from ABC at the 1988 Games. In 2012, MSNBC, CNBC and Telemundo showed round-the-clock video from London. Many live webcasts gave viewers the ability to see competition as it happened, including every swimming session. The same was true for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
“The IOC has worked in close partnership with NBC for many decades, and we are thrilled we will continue to work with them through to 2032,” said IOC President Thomas Bach in the IOC press release. “NBC’s expertise in sports broadcasting, as well as their passion for the Olympic values, will mean we shall be able continue to offer first-class broadcast coverage of the Olympic Games to the widest possible American audience for many years to come.”
Obviously, NBC is not the only broadcast entity in the world, but the United States routinely delivers the top viewership numbers for the Olympics, and interested broadcasters pay top dollar to ensure the rights to air the competitions.
NBCUniversal’s airing of the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials is a separate deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee, and the ability to show that meet on TV will likely be extended for NBCUniversal as well.
The IOC has named the host cities through the 2020 Games. The 2022 Winter Games host city will be named next year, and the 2024 Summer Games site is expected to be announced in 2017. The United States is looking to enter a city in the bid for the 2024 Games, and will announce that candidate city later this year.