Monday, January 3, 2011

Comcast Speaks about the Olympics

NBC started airing the Olympics when Richard Nixon was President. The broadcasting tradition of a generation will mostly like end after the Comcast takeover of NBC is completed.
With NBC losing a reported $223 million on the 2010 Vancouver games and standing to lose even more on the 2012 London games, bidding for the broadcasting rights to the Olympic Games at the current prices that the Olympic Committee is asking may no longer make economic sense. While Comcast CEO Brian Roberts medaled in squash at the Maccabiah Games, that will probably not be a compelling enough reason for Comcast to take the financial losses. By all accounts, the Roberts family bought NBC to make money not for the prestige.
David L. Cohen, the Executive Vice President of Comcast, said, "We have to finish the acquisition and then look at the books." When pressed, he added, "I know that there is no way that we are going to pay $2.5 billion for the rights like the Olympic Committee currently wants." Cohen doubted that the NBC would prevail in the auction next spring of the broadcasting rights for the games in 2014 and 2016.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts was one of twenty CEOs that recently met with Obama during the CEO summit in December at Blair House. Cohen discussed that visit, "Published reports are accurate."
Accounts of the meeting said that Roberts voiced his support directly to the President for the then pending net neutrality proposal at the FCC because of the importance of regulatory certainty for Comcast." John Doerr, the venture capitalist behind Google and Amazon, voiced similar sentiment at the summit.

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