OLYMPICS: Why MotherCorp, Why?
CBC has taken on more Olympics. It was announced today (Aug. 1/12) that they have won the rights to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janiero. Financial arrangements were not disclosed.
It is known that the Bell and Rogers paid $153 million (U.S.) for Vancouver and London rights. It is also known that a partner bid of CBC and CTV owner BCE (Bell) made two previous bids for Sochi and Rio. The first was thought to be valued at $70M and the second one slightly higher. Both were rejected by the IOC as embarrasingly low. After that talks broke down in June and this new deal was hammered out over the last month
There are at least two schools of thought here. One is that the IOC is out to soak any media outlet worldwide for top dollars and will hold out until they get it. The other is that the IOC faced the possibility of no Canadian broadcaster willing to air the next 2 games and offered a discount rather than get no money at all. I tend to believe the latter. The IOC is realizing that their goose is far less golden than it was, and even though other platforms are successful (on line, mobile, et al) you still need good old fashioned TV to make a dollar.
Let's take a conservative estimate of $100 million paid for Sochi and Rio. The CBC is facing $115M in cuts over the next 3 years. Why would they in the middle of austerity go out and spend money like they had it? Perhaps it's the $20M savings annually they were paying for Wheel and Jeopardy which they recently let go. Perhaps you have to spend money to make money. Perhaps they have figured out a way to at least break even on the very expensive proposition of Olympic broadcasts even though most every one else, including CBC in Sydney and Athens and CTV in Vancouver, LOST MONEY.
I'm generally a fan of the CBC, and also of the "idea" of a CBC but I can't go along with this one. I may have to claim the classic "these are my tax dollars". No Olympics since 1960 has stayed on budget, Vancouver is still on the hook for $220 million and that's according to a CBC report. The CBC has done 19 Olympic games in 60 years...I'd venture to say none made money. Have they learned nothing? The Games have a way of being a money pit, for hosts, for governments, for broadcasters and I certainly wouldn't have done this latest deal.
As I've said before, the Olympics are nothing more than the gift of debt. LEAVE COMMENTS.
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