September 9, 2011
CTV-CBC co-bidding for 2014, '16 Olympics
By BILL HARRIS, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Dogs and cats living together. Charlie Sheen and the producers of Two and a Half Men throwing down their swords. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox issuing a joint statement saying, "We're tired of all this competition, so we're just going to join forces."
That's what it seemed like on Friday when CBC and Bell Media -- which owns CTV -- announced that they are pooling their resources to bid for TV rights to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia and the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
It's not known if anyone else in English Canada will bid for the Olympics, but CTV and CBC have been the only players in recent history.
For decades CBC was regarded as the Olympic network in Canada, but that changed when CTV won the rights to broadcast the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and the upcoming 2012 Summer Games in London (both times with Rogers as a junior partner).
However, Rogers announced on Thursday that it was dropping out of Olympic considerations for 2014 and 2016, setting the stage for the CBC-CTV announcement on Friday.
Cost-splitting advantages notwithstanding, this is better news for CBC than CTV if you look at it as a simple properties proposition. CBC was out of the Olympics, and now it's back in if the bid is successful; meanwhile, even if the bid is successful, CTV will have to share the stage in English Canada with its biggest rival on the Canadian Olympic scene.
However, this partnership also could be a political target, as some observers will be uncomfortable with the public broadcaster (CBC) and a private broadcaster (CTV) putting their arms around each other for an Olympics bid.