Fri, September 20, 2013

CBC keeping $73M Olympic secret

By BOB MACKIN, Special to QMI Agency


IOC official Timo Lumme tells QMI Agency the CBC paid at least $73 million for the broadcast rights to the 2014 and 2016 Olympics. Neither he, nor CBC officials, would reveal the exact amount. (REUTERS)

CBC/Radio Canada has paid more than $73 million for the rights to broadcast the Sochi 2014 and Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics.

International Olympic Committee marketing and broadcast director Timo Lumme wouldn’t reveal the precise figure on Tuesday, but he said it was more than what was paid for the Beijing 2008 quadrennium, which included the Turin 2006 Winter Olympics. CBC announced the deal Aug. 1, after a joint bid with CTV-owner Bell was rejected by the IOC.

Lumme conceded the Canadian rights were sold for less than the $153 million paid by Bell and Rogers for Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 rights.

“It’s a lower number, but it is still higher than the previous Beijing number,” Lumme said. “The markets come and the markets go, what’s important for us is to make sure that we deliver on the cornerstone of our broadcast policy, which is free-to-air coverage to the maximum number of viewers in Canada, that means also in English and French supplemented by additional platforms for more choice.”

Lumme said there was “always going to be a blip or a spike” for Vancouver 2010, which was sold with the 2012 Games after Vancouver was awarded hosting rights but before London was chosen.

“We’re very happy with CBC, CBC is in many ways is the home of Olympic Games, a strong supporter of the coverage of grassroots sports,” Lumme said. “Whether (NHL players) appear (in Sochi) or not, the fact is what they’re looking at is the big picture of all the sports of Canadian competitors rather than just focusing on the NHL.”

Said CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson: “The financial terms of the bid are not being released but we are confident that the offer we put forward will be, even at the most conservative estimate, a break-even proposition.”

CBC announced a $225 million budget shortfall in April. Its Hockey Night in Canada contract expires in 2014 and Bell and Rogers are expected to mount bids.