Ebersol: NBC Will Lose Money on 2010 Olympics

Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics executive producer, says that NBC will lose money on the Winter Olympics for the first time in network history in 2010.

Ebersol attributes this to the drastic increase in license rights for the 2010 and 2012 Olympics, rather than a lack of advertising sales. Although advertising sales were slow for most of 2009, they have picked up over the past four months.

According to The New York Times, NBC paid more than $2 billion for the domestic rights to broadcast the summer and winter Olympics in 2010 and 2012, which was over a third more than it paid for the previous round of Olympics broadcasting rights.

Broadcasting & Cable reports Ebersol went on to say that he hopes the USOC’s plans for a Olympics TV Network with Comcast will remain on hold. Obviously, the future of the network depends largely on whether or not the NBC Universal-Comcast merger is approved

The long-time NBC executive also said that he expects NBCU to bid for the 2014-2016 Olympics regardless of the Comcast merger’s approval and that he believes the 2010 Games will garner higher ratings than the Torino games due to more live televised events.