January 25, 2010

NBC Expects to Lose $250 Million on Olympics: For the first time ever, NBC will be losing money broadcasting the Olympics. The owner of the TV network, General Electric, said Friday that it expects to lose $250 million broadcasting the games next month. "It's an expensive property that they are selling in a tough economy," said Paul Swangard of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. The network paid $820 million for the rights to broadcast the games, more than $200 million higher than it did on the 2006 Winter Olympics.

posted by rcade to olympics at 11:17 AM - 19 comments

That's a brilliant piece of negotiating. I'm surprised that they haven't put cameras into one of the athlete's dorms and turned it into an Olympian House reality show to recoup the loss.

posted by irunfromclones at 01:28 PM on January 25

In the second link, at least, they seem to be comparing the price of broadcasting the Winter Olympics with that of the Olympics (they mention both Turin and Barcelona). The Olympics seem to have higher profile endorsement deals, and since they're played in the summer I imagine advertisers have a different set of criteria when choosing how to spend their budgets than they do for the Winter Games. It's possible that in this economy either event would lose money, but I think there's more attention and revenue paid in the summer.

posted by Hugh Janus at 03:16 PM on January 25

As Olympics near, people in Vancouver are dreading Games

I spoke to Charles, a bus driver, whose good cheer diminished when I asked him about the games. "I just can't believe I wanted this a year ago," he said. "I voted for it in the plebiscite. But now, yes. I'm disillusioned." This disillusion is developing as the financial burden of the Games becomes public. The original cost estimate was $660 million in public money. It's now at an admitted $6 billion and steadily climbing. An early economic impact statement was that the games could bring in $10 billion. Price Waterhouse Coopers just released their own study showing that the total economic impact will be more like $1 billion. In addition, the Olympic Village came in $100 million over budget and had to be bailed out by the city.

Just a feel good story all they way around.

posted by justgary at 03:53 PM on January 25

The IOC is ruining the Games by increasing the number of events and the outrageous demands for special arenas and event sites. They're close to pricing themselves out of business. The day may come when no one wants to host them. In my case, as a Chicagoan, I'm glad we didn't get them, because I think it would have cost use dearly in taxes and the 7 year project would have disrupted traffic and caused a general pain in the ass.

posted by Shotput at 04:34 PM on January 25

I've always been a fan of the Olympics...as long as they've been held in someone else's city/province/country.

The Montreal Olympics can no more have a deficit, than a man can have a baby.
Jean Drapeau

posted by grum@work at 04:36 PM on January 25

I think the value of these types of events has been over-stated by politicians trying to prove their worth to the voters. Anytime infrastructure has to be improved the costs just get too far out of hand.

Nothing is built for less than estimates, and most run many times over. I don't really think all of this involves dishonesty, it's just that an estimate done ten years ago is rarely accurate by the time the construction actually takes place. Add in a good measure of dishonesty, and $600mil turns into $6bil.

The projected revenue streams are always projected on a best case scenario, and seldom reflect reality. As if every single visitor is going to spend $100's of dollars each day on meals, etc. Not taking into account that many of the visitors/attendees will be locals that don't spend a dime. Just a quick look at the various stadiums built recently with the sales pitch of the stadium helping to revitalize the area. A few merchants make some money, however most don't. Taking the Rangers/Cowboys stadiums as an example, for every restaurant that does better on game days, there are other businesses that suffer due to the heavy traffic causing regular customers to avoid the area.

NBC seems to be on a roll!

posted by dviking at 04:55 PM on January 25

This is consistent with the kind of level-headed, keen-minded business decisions that have made NBC what it is today.

posted by Joey Michaels at 04:57 PM on January 25

Yeah, I love the Olympics, but my motto is "any where but here."

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:57 PM on January 25

After what they did to Conan all I can say is... HAHAHAHAHAHA!

SUCK IT!

I know a few folk in Vancouver. They are ALL pissed off with having the olympics. They don't want them. And the city just laid off a bunch of employees after promising there would be no layoffs before the Olympics despite the cost overruns.

posted by Drood at 07:34 PM on January 25

I'm really curious how this news will effect the coverage of the next summer games in Rio. Whoever gets the broadcasting contract will have to factor in the losses from theft, and of course ransom money.

posted by irunfromclones at 08:43 PM on January 25

I'm really curious how this news will effect the coverage of the next summer games in Rio. Whoever gets the broadcasting contract will have to factor in the losses from theft, and of course ransom money.

Because, of course, nobody in North America or Europe steals or commits other crimes.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:20 PM on January 25

While Brazil is no Mexico, it does come in a very close second in kidnappings.

In what I'm sure will be omitted from the travel brochures regarding Rio... the downside is the street crime present in big cities, where attacks against tourists have become frequent. Apart from the usual kidnappings, there are also a high number of muggings so simply leave your valuables at the hotel and take with you only a small amount of money. To top it all off, Brazil experienced an increase in the number of yellow fever and dengue fever cases, so be sure to have your shots before entering the country.

posted by dviking at 10:08 PM on January 25

Rio knows how to do street violence better than most places that are considered "destinations" by the tourism industry.

Some weeks after being awarded the Games, a police helicopter in Rio was brought down by gunfire after flying too close to a gang shootout in broad daylight. Video here.

Only a Somali warlord would say Rio isn't rough enough.

posted by beaverboard at 10:36 PM on January 25

I'm actually going to the Winter Games in a couple of weeks. My apologies to my Vancouver brethren.

posted by igottheblues at 12:42 AM on January 26

the next summer games in Rio.

ITYM the next but one.

London accepts your apology, and will arrange a kidnapping if you really desire it in 2012.

posted by etagloh at 01:13 AM on January 26

So long as Boris does the kidnapping and it's all filmed and put on YouTube.

posted by Drood at 02:18 AM on January 26

Because, of course, nobody in North America or Europe steals or commits other crimes.

Exactly - it's not like the two major "crime" incidents I can think of at Olympic Games are hostages in Munich and a bomb in Atlanta.

Oh.

posted by JJ at 05:28 AM on January 26

So long as Boris does the kidnapping and it's all filmed and put on YouTube.

If he does it anywhere in London proper, it will definitely be filmed. And he'll have receipts from coming in and going out.

posted by yerfatma at 09:57 AM on January 26

London accepts your apology, and will arrange a kidnapping if you really desire it in 2012.

I'm a colonial. I completely forgot about London.

posted by irunfromclones at 01:07 PM on January 26

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