Keeping Track: paying to show Olympics

Broadcast rights to Sydney top $1.3 billion

Rupert Murdoch thought he was offering an unbeatable deal recently when he offered the International Olympic Committee $700 million to broadcast the Sydney Olympic Games on Fox TV. The sum dwarfed the $456 million NBC had paid to air the 1996 Games in Atlanta for America's television viewers.

Then NBC weighed in - and walked away with the prize. The network paid $2.3 billion to broadcast the summer Games in 2000, 2004, and 2008, and the winter Games in 2006. The share for Sydney alone works out to $705 million. (NBC has already sold $900 million worth of ads for this year's games.)

While NBC has exclusive rights to air the games in the US, broadcasters from the around the world have also chipped in big bucks to broadcast the games in their regions, bringing the total Olympic take to $1.3 billion.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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