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Network's Olympics Profit Seen Shrinking

NBC expects to make $25 million less than it did in 2002, in part because of security costs.

August 13, 2004|Meg James | Times Staff Writer

NBC Universal expects to make a profit of about $50 million on its coverage of the Athens Summer Olympic Games, which begin today, sources inside the network said Thursday.

The network's take will be less than it was two years ago, when NBC raked in a profit of $75 million from its broadcasts of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games. This year, NBC had to pay more for the rights to carry the games and absorb higher security costs.

The General Electric Co.-owned network will reach its target of $1 billion in ad revenue for spots on its six networks and NBC-owned TV stations, NBC Sports spokeswoman Cameron Blanchard said. The event runs 17 days, ending Aug. 29.

NBC has sold 98% of its available ad inventory, Blanchard said. Advertisers said 30-second, prime-time spots on the NBC network sold for about $740,000 each.

NBC plans an unprecedented 1,200 hours of coverage of the Athens games. Marquee events will be shown in prime time on NBC, with other events shown on MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, USA Network and Spanish-language Telemundo.

By comparison, NBC televised about 400 hours of events from the Sydney Summer Olympics four years ago.

The network also set up a digital high-definition platform.

NBC paid the International Olympics Committee $793 million for the rights to broadcast the Athens games.

In contrast, the license fee was $545 million for the 2002 Salt Lake City games and $705 million for the 2000 Sydney games. NBC's profit from the Sydney games was reported to be about $50 million.

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