Fri, September 20, 2013

CBC regains Olympics broadcast rights

By BOB MACKIN, Special to QMI Agency

LONDON - Canadians will get to see and hear the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and Rio 2016 Summer Olympics after all.

CBC/Radio-Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee announced Wednesday that the public broadcaster has a TV, radio and Internet deal for the next two Games.

COC president Marcel Aubut called CBC “an unwavering champion of amateur sport.”

CBC president Hubert Lacroix said in a news release: “We’ve promised Canadians signature events on all our platforms that create opportunities to connect with each other and the country.”

CBC had combined with Bell, owner of CTV and TSN, last September but the International Olympic Committee rejected the joint bid, sparking fears that no Canadian broadcaster would sign on.

Sochi will be CBC’s 20th Olympics. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately released, but a giant question mark hangs over Sochi 2014. The National Hockey League has not yet decided to pause its season and release players for the Olympic hockey tournament, the biggest ratings draw of the Winter Games. Canada is the defending champion from Vancouver 2010.

“Canada is a sports-loving nation and Canadians are big fans of the Olympic Games,” IOC president Jacques Rogge said in a news release. “CBC/Radio-Canada has a wealth of experience in broadcasting sports and the Olympic Games and we are pleased that we will once again be joining forces with them in the future.”

The Bell-led CTV-Rogers consortium paid $153 million in 2005 for the 2010 and 2012 package, $80 million more than what CBC paid for Turin 2006 and Beijing 2008.

The Vancouver component was worth $90 million alone, making it the first time a Winter Games was valued more than Summer. The rights were awarded five months before London’s 2012 Games bid was chosen in Singapore.

The advertising market plummeted with the 2008 recession and didn’t recover in time for the Vancouver Games, leaving the CTV-Rogers consortium with a loss estimated at more than $20 million. CTV-Rogers is carrying London 2012, which ends Aug. 12.