By Duncan Mackay
June 7 - NBC have retained the rights to broadcast the Olympics in a $4.38 billion (£2.66 billion) deal through until the 2020 Games, it has been announced tonight.
Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), made the announcement that they had beaten rival bids from Disney's EPSN and Rupert Mudoch's Fox Sports during a special teleconference.
The decision follows all three channels making presentations to a panel of top officials, including Rogge and Richard Carrion, the Puerto Rican who is the chairman and chief executive of financial services conglomerate Popular, Inc.
Fox officials made their presentation first yesterday, followed this morning by EPSN and this afternoon by NBC.
At the end of NBC's presentation, each network placed a sealed envelope containing its bid into a plexiglass box.
The deal is valued $775 million (£471 million) for Sochi 2014, $1.226 billion (£745 million) for Rio 2016, $963 million (£585 million) for 2018 and $1.418 billon (£862 million) for 2020.
"We had an obligation to pick the best bid on behalf of the entire Olympic Movement," said Carrión, a member of the IOC's ruling Executive Board.
"We assessed each bid against a thorough set of criteria and believe that the long-term nature of this agreement will not only ensure fantastic Olympic broadcast coverage in the US, but also support the long-term financial stability of the Olympic Movement as a whole.
"NBC has proven its worth time and again over the years and we're very excited to continue working with them."
NBC, who are now majority owned by parent company Comcast with Olympic worldwide sponsor General Electric having a 49 per cent share, have been broadcasting the Summer Olympics since Seoul 1988 and the Winter Games since Salt Lake City in 2002.
Their current deal is due to finish after they have broadcast next year's Olympics in London.
The new one will cover the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
It will also include the 2018 Winter Olympics - which will be held in either Annecy, Munich or Pyeongchang - and the 2020 Summer Games, for which Rome is the only confirmed bidder so far.
"We are honoured to continue as the US Olympic broadcaster for the remainder of this decade," said Brian Roberts, the chairman and chief executive of Comcast.
"The vision for our new Comcast-NBCUniversal was to create new platforms and technologies to distribute the very best content.
"Every two years the Olympic Games provides iconic content for us to deliver on all platforms.
"We are proud to continue the rich heritage and long association that NBC has had with the IOC and I personally want to thank President Jacques Rogge and Richard Carrion for their long-term trust."
NBC claimed that the rights cover the broadcasting right on "every now known or to be known" platform, including mobile and tablet.
The deal is a coup for Rogge (pictured above centre with Roberts on left and Carrion on right), who has guaranteed the financial stability of the IOC beyond his own Presidency, which is due to end when he steps down in 2013.
"We are delighted to have reached an agreement with our longstanding partner NBC," he said.
"We received three excellent bids and would like to thank each broadcaster for their presentations.
"In the end we were most impressed with NBC, which not only has a track record for broadcasting the Games that speaks for itself, but also has a clear and innovative vision of where it wants to take the broadcast of the Games between now and 2020.
"We look forward to continuing to build on our already strong relationship beginning in London next year."
It was NBC's first Olympic deal since 1988 without Dick Ebersol, the head of NBC Sports, who resigned last month after helping to engineer eight winning bids.
He was replaced by former Turner Broadcasting executive Mark Lazarus, who headed NBC's presentation.
Eight years ago, NBC bid $2.2 billion (£1.3 billion) for the 2010 Vancouver Games and the 2012 Summer Games.
NBC outbid Fox, which offered $1.3 billion (£790 million).
NBC lost $233 million (£142 million) on the Vancouver Olympics, from which they broadcast 835 hours of coverage across broadcast, cable and online/
It will have an even bigger platform for the next Olympics.
The company was acquired by Comcast earlier this year, and now Versus, Comcast's cable sports network key, is part of the NBC Sports portfolio.
In 1995, NBC bid $3.5 billion (£2.1 billion) for five Olympics, getting the Games from 2000 to 2008, when the IOC did not listen to offers from any other bidders.
ESPN, in a statement after its unsuccessful bid, did not say whether it made a four-Games bid as NBC did with its winning bid.
"To go any further would not have made good business sense for us," they said.
"We put our best foot forward with a compelling offer that included the enthusiastic participation of all of The Walt Disney Company's considerable assets."
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