NBC will continue to be the broadcast home of the Olympics in the United States, beating out FOX and ESPN/ABC in a round of bidding on Tuesday (June 7).
The network, whose current deal runs through the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, won the rights to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Japan, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2018 winter and 2020 summer games, whose sites have yet to be determined.
NBC and parent company Comcast’s winning bid came just a few weeks after the departure of long-time NBC Sports chief Dick Ebersol, who spearheaded the company’s massive Olympics efforts in the past. That apparently didn’t matter to the International Olympic Committee.
“It is a great thrill to know that NBC’s unsurpassed Olympic heritage and unprecedented partnership with the IOC will continue through 2020,” says Mark Lazarus, the new chairman of the NBC Sports Group. “The Olympics are a significant part of NBC, and the IOC again recognized NBC Universal’s unmatched ability to promote, market, program and produce the Olympic Games.”
NBC paid just under $4.4 billion for the next four Olympics, in line with the $2.2 billion it ponied up for the 2010 and 2012 games. The network has broadcast every Summer Olympics since 1988 and the last three Winter Olympics as well.
In a statement, ESPN says it made “a disciplined bid” that would have been profitable for parent company Walt Disney. “To go any further would not have made good business sense for us. We wish to congratulate the IOC on a fair and transparent process, and we offer our best wishes to Comcast/NBC,” the statement says. FOX hasn’t commented on its bid.