Tying a bow on the Canadian Olympic rights negotiations

Canada’s long national nightmare is over. CBC will be sole broadcaster of the 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games.

You may recall how acrimonious the prior negotiations with the IOC were, with CBC’s union with Bell the sole bidders and far apart from what the IOC wanted, raising the specter of Canadians having to watch the Games on NBC or on the Internet. One of the bigger hang-ups – whether NHL players would be in Sochi – hasn’t been resolved yet, so I can’t help but wonder what changed to get the deal done.

I’d like to see some numbers on how much CBC paid. Did the IOC look at the landscape and realize the bleak future facing the Games in Canada if they didn’t take CBC’s offer? Did the IOC see that CBC was paying less than the combined bid and attempt to save face by lowering their demand down to the level of the combined bid? Did CBC realize the PR hit both sides were getting in Canada (and, possibly, see the ratings for the 2012 Games) and up the ante to make sure the Games could be seen on a normal platform?

Regardless, Canada has dodged a bullet, and combined with the complaints of poor quality for NBC’s streaming of big events (which the IOC may also have been looking at when considering a potential Yahoo bid), it’s a sign that we’re probably still at least a decade away from streaming being the norm for viewing sports.

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