The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that ESPN is entertaining the notion of bidding for the rights to cover the 2014 and 2016 Olympics.
Fox (shudder) and CBS are also listed as potential networks that will vie with NBC for the U.S. right for the Games. According to the article, the International Olympic Committee will start entertaining bids within the next six to eight months.
While NBC's all-encompassing coverage of these Olympics has recorded high ratings, it hasn't been without complaint. From the overabundance of beach volleyball to the "Live" logo appearing on West Coast screens that are seeing tape-delayed events, NBC's handling of the Beijing Olympics hasn't pleased everybody.
Writes the +Hollywood Reporter:
"We would never put an event on tape delay," John Skipper, executive vp content at ESPN, said. "When we put 'live' on the screen, we mean 'live right now.' We don't mean live three hours ago."
He said that if NBC was having technical trouble taking the "live" bug off its tape, ESPN would lend its technical expertise "to help them remove (it)."+
ESPN has the multi-channel platform, in addition to a huge online presence with the proven ability to showcase video that would be necessary to show as much as possible live. Should Chicago succeed in its bid for the 2016 Games, it's an easy assumption that they would be an enormous money-maker for whichever network ends up with the rights, which will probably exceed $1 billion.
And who knows, maybe ESPN could coax Brett Favre out of retirement (I'm assuming he'll be retired by then) to play team handball. That would really boost ratings...