Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

New Olympic rights deal is not all that bad


It’s official. The International Olympic Committee has broken with a 52-year-old tradition and sold the European broadcasting rights for the 2014 Winter Games and the 2016 Summer Olympics to sports agency SPORTFIVE.

It had earlier rejected a European Broadcasting Union umbrella offer, ending a long partnership with Europe’s state broadcasters.

The decision has been widely criticised but is it really such a bad idea?

The IOC picked the highest bidder as it looks to bolster its finances during troubled economic times and target about $1 billion in revenues from the European continent alone for the rights to the two Games.

The SPORTFIVE deal is worth a rumoured $300 million and major territories such as Germany, France, Spain and Great Britain are not even part of it.