IOC expects Asian media to pay more for Olympics

Updated: April 6, 2006, 8:13 AM ET
Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea -- Buoyed by lucrative deals in Europe and the United States, the International Olympic Committee expects Asian media companies to pay significantly more money to broadcast upcoming games.

Richard Carrion, a negotiator for the IOC, said the Internet and other new media give broadcasters new ways to make money from the Olympics. That and the Olympics' global popularity are giving the IOC added leverage in negotiations for the rights to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2012 London Summer Games.

Discussions are under way with a handful of South Korean media companies, Carrion said Thursday, and will open with Japanese broadcasters in coming months.

The IOC's Asian negotiations come after the conclusion of negotiations with U.S. and European broadcasters, who Carrion says paid rates more than 30 percent higher for the 2010 and 2012 games than they did in previous contracts. He predicts Korean and Japanese broadcasters should follow suit.

"The kind of increases that we've seen leads us to believe that this should be no exception," Carrion at a news conference in Seoul.

Sales of TV rights account for more than half the IOC's overall revenues. The money funds everything from the staging of the games and the IOC's operations, to the subsidizing of Olympic committees in many nations.

The amounts the IOC pulls in keep climbing. Even without the Asian markets, TV rights sales so far for the 2010 and 2012 Games have exceeded $2.9 billion, eclipsing the $2.5 billion for the Turin Games and Beijing Games.

Canadian broadcaster CTV agreed to a more than 100 percent increase, to $160 million, mainly because Vancouver is the 2010 host, Carrion said. European broadcasters, except for Italy, agreed to pay 30 percent more, and NBC's $2 billion share, by far the largest, is a more than 35 percent increase, Carrion said.

As part of its negotiating strategy, the IOC is upping the ante by bundling traditional broadcast rights with those for cable television and the Internet, mobile phones and other new media.

"It's a much wider privilege in a media landscape that has changed," Carrion said.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press