NBC expects to make at least a $10 million profit from the 1996 Olympic Games by pulling more than $ 30 million worth of advertising time away from its affiliates and making a cable deal for some of the events.

Those outlines emerged from a teleconference Wednesday with Dick Ebersol, president of NBC Sports, who went into more details about NBC’s successful $ 456 million bid for the ’96 Games from Atlanta (Daily Variety, July 28).

Although Ebersol wouldn’t talk specifically about the contribution expected from NBC affiliated and owned-and-operated TV stations, Jim Waterbury, affiliate board chairman and general manager of KWWL Waterloo, Iowa, noted that stations gave commercial time on “L.A. Law” and “The Tonight Show” back to NBC for a full year before the ’92 Summer Games from Barcelona began.

Having established that precedent for Barcelona, NBC is expected to pursue a similar approach looking toward Atlanta, although Waterbury acknowledged that “there’s nothing specifically on the table yet.”

NBC valued the “L.A. Law” and “Tonight” spots leading up to Barcelona at about $ 30 million, Waterbury said. Since the network is ponying up $ 55 million more for rights to the ’96 Games than the ’92 Olympics, the assumption is that NBC will extract more than $ 30 million worth of spots from affils this time around.

The negotiations between NBC and its affiliates over “inventory adjustments,” as Doug Adams, general manager of KXAS in Dallas, delicately put it, probably won’t be contentious.

Premium ad prices

Waterbury pointed to the fact that NBC will be able to go after premium prices from advertisers because most of the major Olympic events in ’96 will be live in primetime, not tape-delayed.

On cable participation, Ebersol acknowledged that he’s held talks with officials at HBO, USA and Turner Broadcasting’s TNT and TBS, as well as the regional sports networks it jointly owns with Cablevision Systems, the fifth-largest cable operator in the U.S.

Ebersol said a deal with ESPN is unlikely, not only because it’s 80% owned by CapCities/ABC but because it sets aside two minutes of commercial time an hour for local sales by cable systems.

In exchange for affiliate concessions, Ebersol said NBC has promised it “will protect the commercial exclusivity of its stations. There’ll be no local sale of advertising time in the Olympics to any entity other than the NBC O&O or affiliate.”

Talks with Ted Turner’s TNT or TBS probably won’t go anywhere, Ebersol said, because “Ted wants to be paid for making these channels available for our coverage.”

Ebersol said NBC won’t pay anyone to carry its signal and will insist that “we do all of the national advertising sales and then share the revenues with our cable partner.”

Since HBO doesn’t take ads, one source says it would have to pay NBC a license fee to get cable rights to the Games. One affiliate g.m., who requested anonymity, says he’d prefer HBO as NBC’s cable partner because the pay-cabler reaches only about 17.5 million homes, vs. the 60 million-plus chalked up by USA and TBS.

Ebersol said, “There’ll be no pay-per-view telecasts of the games.” The Intl. Olympic Committee insisted on PPV prohibition because “the Games are taking place in the U.S. The Committee feels an obligation to make them available to the widest possible audience.”

before the ’92 Summer Games from Barcelona began.

Having established that precedent for Barcelona, NBC is expected to pursue a similar approach looking toward Atlanta, although Waterbury acknowledged that “there’s nothing specifically on the table yet.”

NBC valued the “L.A. Law” and “Tonight” spots leading up to Barcelona at about $ 30 million, Waterbury said. Since the network is ponying up $ 55 million more for rights to the ’96 Games than the ’92 Olympics, the assumption is that NBC will extract more than $ 30 million worth of spots from affils this time around.

The negotiations between NBC and its affiliates over “inventory adjustments,” as Doug Adams, general manager of KXAS in Dallas, delicately put it, probably won’t be contentious.

Premium ad prices

Waterbury pointed to the fact that NBC will be able to go after premium prices from advertisers because most of the major Olympic events in ’96 will be live in primetime, not tape-delayed.

On cable participation, Ebersol acknowledged that he’s held talks with officials at HBO, USA and Turner Broadcasting’s TNT and TBS, as well as the regional sports networks it jointly owns with Cablevision Systems, the fifth-largest cable operator in the U.S.

Ebersol said a deal with ESPN is unlikely, not only because it’s 80% owned by CapCities/ABC but because it sets aside two minutes of commercial time an hour for local sales by cable systems.

In exchange for affiliate concessions, Ebersol said NBC has promised it “will protect the commercial exclusivity of its stations. There’ll be no local sale of advertising time in the Olympics to any entity other than the NBC O&O or affiliate.”

Talks with Ted Turner’s TNT or TBS probably won’t go anywhere, Ebersol said, because “Ted wants to be paid for making these channels available for our coverage.”

Ebersol said NBC won’t pay anyone to carry its signal and will insist that “we do all of the national advertising sales and then share the revenues with our cable partner.”

Since HBO doesn’t take ads, one source says it would have to pay NBC a license fee to get cable rights to the Games. One affiliate g.m., who requested anonymity, says he’d prefer HBO as NBC’s cable partner because the pay-cabler reaches only about 17.5 million homes, vs. the 60 million-plus chalked up by USA and TBS.

Ebersol said, “There’ll be no pay-per-view telecasts of the games.” The Intl. Olympic Committee insisted on PPV prohibition because “the Games are taking place in the U.S. The Committee feels an obligation to make them available to the widest possible audience.”

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