Comcast CEO Brian Roberts on NBCU's Olympic Bid: 'One of the most unique, stressful, dramatic and ultimately rewarding experiences I have had'
This morning Fortune held a breakfast discussion with Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. Not surprisingly, NBCUniversal’s successful bid for 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 Olympics were a big topic of discussion. Roberts candidly discussed their strategy for bidding and how they plan to turn a profit.
Roberts called the bidding experience “One of the most unique, stressful, dramatic and ultimately rewarding experiences I have had.”
Roberts said that the finances could clearly be worked out, noting that NBC has had the Olympics for 20 years, and would only be losing money for two of the games (Vancouver and London). The challenge was figuring out how to maximize revenue from the three big buckets: advertising, money from cable and satellite providers, and affiliates, as well as ensuring that the rights were all-encompassing enough to take advantage of technological change that may occur over the next decade.
“We had to find a way that they could be satisfied with what they were getting; and we could absolutely feel that we could make money into the future. The only way we could see to do that was to go long. Their stated bidding rules were not for anything but one quad, two games. They said ‘If you don’t offer for two we won’t consider anything else.’