It was announced today that NBC has retained the U.S. television rights to four more Olympic Games spanning the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia through to the as yet to be named Summer Games of 2020.  The peacock network out bid rivals ESPN and FOX with a $4.38 billion offer.  NBC has held U.S. rights for the last seven Olympics, beginning in 2000 and going through the 2012 London Games.

     For track fans this cannot be seen as anything but a major dissapointment.  No matter what FOX or ESPN would have offered, NBC’s view of track is well established.  For their coverage of Beijing 2008, they lobbied the IOC to reschedule the once centerpiece track and field competition out of live U.S. prime time to make room for women’s gymnastics, beach volleyball, and Michael Phelps quest for eight swimming gold medals.

    There was some speculation that NBC’s new owners, Comcast, might forego the Olympics after the resignation of Dick Ebersol, NBC’s point man in past Olympic bids.  Now, they are here to stay. 



  1. Unfortunately after watching the Comcast spokesperson for the sports division being interviewed on the NBC Nightly News last night it’s quite obvious that we’ll be dealing with a “fortnight of mini soap operas”, as you so fittingly described it, Brendan. He was pressed several times to talk about the potential of NBC broadcasting live, real-time footage, and he adroitly danced around the subject every time. What should we expect? The object is to feed the citizenry pablum now, dumb everything down, give us reality TV whenever possible, don’t celebrate excellence either in mental or physical prowess…it’s the Jersey Shore Olympics all the way, baby!

  2. Depressing news for Olympic broadcasts in general, not just T&F. All we can hope is that the departure of Dick “Up Close and Personal” Ebersol from NBC Sports will mean the network decides to treat the Olympics as a sporting event again and not as a fortnight of mini soap operas.

    I will say, though, that having the women’s marathon broadcast in prime time in 2008 just ahead of Michael Phelps’ attempt for his eighth gold gave more exposure to Constantina and to women’s marathoning than we ever could have otherwise hoped for.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.