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Bell, Rogers got Games

Pubcaster CBC beaten by joint bid

MONTREAL — Bell Globemedia (which owns the CTV Network) and Rogers Media snared the Canadian rights to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver and the 2012 Summer Games for $153 million.

The joint Bell Globemedia/Rogers bid Monday beat pubcaster CBC, which broadcast the Athens Summer Olympics last summer.

The Canuck companies will pay $90 million for the 2010 games, up 221% from the $28 million CBC paid for the Turin Games in 2006, and $63 million for the 2012 Summer Games, up 40% from the $45 million CBC paid for the Beijing Games in 2008.

The last time CTV broadcast the Olympic Games was in 1994, when the winter event was held in Lillehammer, Norway.

The Bell Globemedia/Rogers package covers coast-to-coast coverage in Canada’s official languages, English and French. It will also air on 46 Rogers-owned radio stations. Ivan Fecan, president of Bell Globemedia, said, “Vancouver 2010 will be the biggest event of the decade in Canada, and it’s wonderful to be at the center of it.” CBC expressed disappointment. “Over the years, and as recently as last summer, we were congratulated for the excellence of our Olympic coverage,” a CBC statement said, adding that if the decision had been based on quality of coverage, it would have won the bid.

“There was no question of putting in danger our programming budgets in other areas in order to broadcast the Olympic games at any cost,” the pubcaster said in the statement. CBC president Robert Rabinovitch had told a House of Commons committee last fall that the net lost money on its coverage of the Athens Olympics last year.

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