Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Tiger and the Olympics

Two significant developments in sports media today, both involved NBC:

NBC has apparently retained the rights to televise the next four Olympic Games. The winning bid was $4.38 billion, which represents a drop from the current rate. NBC's austerity (if you can call it that) is understandable considering the network lost around $200 million for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. NBC Universal's new owners, Comcast, have spent the entire year cutting costs (and personnel like Dick Ebersol), so the move does come as a surprise. What's not surprising is that the value of mega-events not named the Super Bowl continue to decrease in value.

NBC received some bad news today when Tiger Woods announced he's skipping this month's U.S. Open because of continuing health problems. NBC has the television rights to the Open, and it's a well established fact that golf's television ratings drop when Woods isn't involved. The glimmer of hope for NBC is that Woods has been a non-factor all year and TV ratings have actually been strong at several events.

It might be the first indication that golf viewers are finally adjusting to a post-Tiger world. This is not to say that Woods will not win in the future, but the days of him dominating both tournaments and TV ratings are apparently over. And in the long run that's probably a good thing.


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