Newspaper article News Sentinel

NBC's Olympics Coverage Expected to 'Break Even'

Newspaper article News Sentinel

NBC's Olympics Coverage Expected to 'Break Even'

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES - NBC could yet earn a gold medal for its controversial decision to delay televising marquee events from the London Olympics until prime time in the U.S.

The company approached the London Olympics, which officially opened July 27, expecting to lose about $200 million on its coverage. But ratings for the Summer Games have been much higher than expected, which should allow the company to escape a huge financial loss.

"We are off to a very, very successful start," NBCUniversal Chief Executive Steve Burke said Wednesday morning during Comcast's second- quarter earnings call. "We think London is going to be right around break-even. We are way ahead of where we thought we would be."

NBCUniversal is paying $1.18 billion to the International Olympics Committee for the exclusive television rights in the U.S., and is broadcasting the events on a multitude of channels including NBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, the NBC Sports Network and on the Internet. The company is incurring more than $100 million in production costs.

Despite a chorus of complaints about the network's decision to delay broadcast of high-profile sports events until prime time, hours after the events are over, the television ratings have been dramatically higher than expected.

Ratings are up about 9 percent compared with the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Burke said. …

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