IOC expects 40 per cent rise in broadcasting rights for Olympics

MUMBAI: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) forecasts that broadcasting rights revenues will top $3.5 billion in the run-up to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

This represents a 40 per cent increase over the $2.5 billion for the cycle leading to the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

A report in the Financial Times states that the projections are based on increasingly strong interest shown in the rights globally.

IOC president Jacques Rogge told the Financial Times that the IOC would most certainly generate $3.5 billion on TV rights in the four-year run up to the 2012 Games.

Presently host city organising committees are entitled to 49 per cent of the income raised from broadcasting with, with the balance retained by the IOC for distribution to international sports bodies.

But after the Beijing Games there will be a change in the rules entitling host cities to a fixed amount of broadcasting rights revenues, rather than a fixed percentage of TV revenues.

Another report indicates that the cost of broadcast rights in the US for the 2010 and 2012 Games have risen 46 per cent to $2.2 billion from the last Games. In Europe, they have risen 30 per cent to $746 million and in Canada they have doubled to $153 million.

For the IOC, which first sold television rights to the BBC in 1948 for a little more than $A5,000, the sale of Olympic broadcasting licenses is now a hotly contested and jealously guarded multi-billion dollar enterprise. Indeed, it has become the largest single income earner for the IOC, far surpassing direct sponsorship, ticketing and other sources of revenue.

In the past the licensed media corporations have strongly protected their turf. They have regularly made it clear to the IOC that any weakening of their monopolies would reduce ad revenue, undermine the market price of broadcast rights and sponsorship deals, and thus lower the IOC's income.

In 2000 unprecedented restrictions on other media companies had led to conflictsand particularly with the scores of Internet sporting news sites that wanted to provide coverage of the event.

Meanwhile Telstra may play a key role in the bidding for the Australian broadcast rights to the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics, which for the first time will include the rights to Internet broadcasting and mobile phone content. Telstra owns the Nine Network.

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