NBC retained its hold on U.S. Olympic television rights yesterday in a four-games deal through 2020 worth nearly $4.4 billion, defeating rival bids from ESPN and Fox.
"I can say the Olympics are really in their DNA," IOC president Jacques Rogge said, referring to the network, which has dominated the Olympic broadcast scene in the U.S. for 20 years.
Now controlled by Comcast, NBC won the bid despite last month's resignation of longtime sports and Olympics chief Dick Ebersol in a dispute with the new owners. NBC has broadcast every Summer Olympics since 1988 and every Winter Games since 2002, and it was the network's experience and familiarity with the IOC - as well as its money - that won over the Olympic body again.
NBC now will have exclusive rights to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, as well as the 2018 Winter Games and 2020 Olympics, whose sites have not yet been chosen.
Comcast executives have made clear they're not interested in a repeat of the 2010 Vancouver Games, when NBC lost more than $200 million in a rough economy. NBC also stands to take a similar hit from next year's London Olympics.
"It was very clear from the beginning that we wanted to be disciplined and responsible," Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said. "We think this will be a profitable relationship . . . I believe we will be profitable and build value for our shareholders."
* Undefeated six-time world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced on his Twitter feed that he will end a 16-month hiatus when he faces WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz on Sept. 17 at a site to be determined. Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) hasn't fought since a unanimous decision over Shane Mosley on May 1, 2010, and has repeatedly declined to accept a bout against WBO welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao.
* WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck will defend his title against former light heavyweight champ Hugo Hernan Garay, of Argentina, on July 16 in Munich.
* Hendrick Motorsports said Kasey Kahne will be sponsored by Farmers Insurance when he joins the organization next season. Kahne will replace Mark Martin in the No. 5 Chevrolet.
* Sam Hornish Jr. will return to the Sprint Cup Series for the first time this season at Pocono Raceway. Hornish will replace Travis Kvapil in the No. 38 Ford for Front Row Motorsports. Hornish is a three-time IndyCar champion. He has been out of a full-time ride this year.
* Olympic gymnastics champion Paul Hamm said that there is a "small possibility'' he could be ready to participate in a few events at nationals in August just 7 months after shoulder surgery.