Another Look at NBC and the Olympics

By Noah Davis 

We’ve been here before, but The New York Times examines whether NBC will retain the broadcast rights for the 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games.

Comcast, which is spending $30 billion to purchase General Electric a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal from General Electric, needs to decide if it makes sense to spend money on a property that could lose millions.

The early indications are that they will.

“I don’t think Comcast wants its first move with its new partner to be a negative one and to lose something NBC has had for years,” Barry Frank, an executive vice president of IMG who has negotiated Olympic deals in the past, tells The Times.

What about the challenge from ESPN?Eh, probably not going to happen.

“The N.C.A.A. is instructive,” John Skipper, ESPN’s executive vice president for content, says. “We felt we had the best plan. I’m confident we’ll have an excellent Olympic plan, but, like the N.C.A.A., we expect to be aggressive and prudent.”

In the end, it’s going to come down to one man: Dick Ebersol. Another network will have to pry to Olympics from the executive’s cold, dead fingers. Even then, it might not happen.