Comcast shares initially rose this week after the Philadelphia-based cable TV and Internet company clinched a $4.4 billion deal for TV rights to the next four Olympic games (and announced plans to buy BlackRock's stake in Universal theme parks, and maybe sell the 76ers and the G4 gamer channel). 

Comcast boss Brian Roberts' hopes the Olympics will be profitable for his company have been "met with skepticism," Bloomberg reports here.

Other views:
Comcast/NBCUniversal may still lose
money on the 2012 London Olympics, even with our assumptions of a 10% increase in network
advertising for the games and an incremental 5% increase (over our current estimates) in companywide
reverse comp to NBC
"Comcast/NBCUniversal may still lose money on the 2012 London Olympics, even with our assumptions of a 10% increase in network advertising for the games," and a boost in station payments to NBC, estimates analyst David C. Joyce at Miller Tabak & Co. in New York.

"NBC lost $225 million on the 2010 games, and expects to lost $250 million on the 2012 games," writes Dave Novosel, cable analyst at bond-watcher Gimme Credit LLC. He's "skeptical" of future Olympic profits.
"The winning bid was substantially higher" than rival offers by Fox and ESPN, Novosel reminds investors in a report. "Free cash flow will not be sufficient to fund the cash outlays" that Comcast has promised to make, so "Comcast will need to dip into existing cash." Comcast can afford this, Novosel adds, unless things get worse. Citing the risk things might, he's urging investors to sell the company's bonds, at recent prices.

Comcast hopes to find more ways to retail Olympic programs to TV, Internet and handheld-device users. But the US pay-TV audience is shrinking, as more people "cut the cord" (and rely instead on Internet and digital free TV), writes Stifel & Co. analyst Christopher King in a report to investors, citing data from Nielsen.
That's why live events in general, "and sports in particular, have become the last line of defense for traditional video" companies like Comcast, King adds. Sports leagues know this, so they're boosting prices aggressively, because "who wants to watch the Super Bowl on Monday morning?" But if higher prices get passed to consumers, this becomes a cycle: More will drop pay TV.