A breakdown of bidders for US Olympic TV rights

A breakdown of the three companies bidding for the U.S.

television rights for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics and possibly the

following two games as well.

NBC

Strengths: As the longtime home of the Olympics in the United

States, the network offers familiarity for the IOC and for viewers.

The merger with Comcast opens up new platforms to broadcast the

games.

Weaknesses: New bosses at Comcast and NBC Sports chief Dick

Ebersol’s resignation create uncertainty. Comcast executives, not

wanting to lose money on the Olympics again, may not be as

aggressive in bidding as NBC was in the past.

Fox

Strengths: The network offers a younger audience while still

providing the platform of one of the country’s big four broadcast

networks. If the IOC likes the model of showing all events live

unlike NBC has in the past, Fox plans to do so. Rupert Murdoch’s

media group has picked up the rights in other countries, showing a

commitment to the Olympics.

Weaknesses: The IOC needs to decide if Fox’s edgier approach

fits with its image and whether it is confident the network can

pull of an event of this magnitude.

ESPN/ABC

Strengths: ESPN offers the flexibility and reach of myriad

platforms and the experience of broadcasting the World Cup. It can

provide legitimacy to hard-core sports fans who may view the

Olympics as less of a serious competition. The network also plans

to show all events live. Parent company Disney has opportunities

for marketing tie-ins.

Weaknesses: Even with the company’s ability to show events on

ABC, the IOC must decide if it feels comfortable with more of a

shift to cable. The IOC must also determine whether an Olympics

produced by a sports-specific network can reach a broader

audience.