By Barry Janoff
May 7, 2014: How old will you be in 2032? Whatever age that might be, you will still be watching the Olympics on NBC.
The International Olympic Committee and NBCUniversal, which is a division of Comcast Corp., unveiled a deal today that keeps the U.S. broadcast rights to the Olympic Games on NBC through the 2032 Summer Game (site to be determined in 2025).
In addition, NBCU also acquired the broadcast rights for every edition of the Youth Olympic Games through 2032.
The cost was put at $7.65 billion plus what was referred to as a "$100 million signing bonus for the promotion of Olympism and Olympic values between 2015 and 2020." The deal includes broadcast rights across all media platforms that now exist, including free-to-air TV, subscription TV, Internet and mobile.
The union is an extension of the rights NBCU acquired in 2011 right to broadcast the Olympic Games through 2020. ESPN and Fox also were bidding for the Games at that time, which ultimately went to NBCU for $4.38 billion.
There was no bidding war this time around as NBCU and IOC formalized the extension well before the current deal was due to expire. It was signed on Wednesday (May 7) in Lucerne, Switzerland, where the IOC is headquartered (Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts and IOC president Thomas Bach are pictured below).
By 2032, NBCU will have covered a total of 23 editions of the Olympic Games, since its first Games broadcast in Tokyo in 1964.
“This is one of the most important days in the history of NBCUniversal," Steve Burke, CEO for NBCUniversal, said in a statement. "The Olympics are part of the fabric of our company, and we couldn’t be more excited that today’s announcement guarantees that this massively popular and profitable programming will continue to air every two years on the broadcast, cable, digital and mobile platforms of NBCUniversal for the next two decades. No event brings families together like the Olympics, and no-one in media is more accomplished or better equipped to tell the athletes’ stories than NBC Sports."
The Olympic schedule as it now stands includes the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea; and the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.
The IOC will name a host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics in 2015.
The U.S., which has not hosted an Olympics since 1996 in Atlanta, could bid on the 2024 Summer Games, to be determined by the U.S. Olympic Committee by the end of this year.
The last Games in North America were the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
"This deal was made with no knowledge of where the Games will go," Mark Lazarus, chairman for NBC Sports Group, said during a media conference call that also included Bach, Roberts and USOC chairman Larry Probst. "Our success with the Games has never been contingent on the location of those Games."
The USOC has been in contact with representatives from cities including Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Diego about hosting the Olympics. New York had bid on the 2012 Games and Chicago on the 2016 Games, which went to London and Rio de Janeiro, respectively.
"We will continue to have those conversations," Probst said during the call. "We are intent on cutting down to a smaller number of cities in the next few months and make a decision by the end of the year. That is a process that will play out in six or seven months."
According to the IOC, the deal with NBCU is a "major contribution to the long-term financial stability of the entire Olympic Movement." The IOC said it distributes more than 90% of the revenue it generates to support the International Sports Federations, the 204 National Olympic Committees and their Olympic teams and the Organizing Committees of each Olympic Games.
"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."
“This agreement is excellent news for the entire Olympic Movement as it helps to ensure its financial security in the long term, in particular future host cities of the Olympic Games, the athletes of the 204 National Olympic Committees and the International Sports Federations," IOC's Bach said in a statement. "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."
Although the the landscape of media and the world itself will look much different in 18 years, the nearly two decade extension was, for the IOC and NBCU, as close to an Olympic no-brainer as could be planned.
According to Comcast's Roberts, "Our long-term commitment to and investment in the Olympic Movement are a reflection of our belief in the future of broadcast television, as well as our confidence that our partners at the IOC will continue to deliver great Games and that the Olympics will remain the world’s premier sports event."
Added IOC's Bach, "We wanted to build on this long-term partnership with NBC. We could be sure, we are sure, that the Olympic Games will be presented in a way the Olympic spirit requires and how we see it. We didn't see any reason to take any risk with regards to broadcast and presentation of the Olympic Games in the United States."