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CBC prematurely promos Olympics

U.S. rights set, rights to 159 countries still open

VANCOUVER — Despite uncertainty over who will win Canuck broadcast rights for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. has hung a banner over its studios promoting itself as the country’s Olympic broadcaster.

The pubcaster and CTV are expected to be the only bidders for the rights, which will be negotiated over the next year. Canada’s third national network, CanWest Global, places a low priority on sports but has not ruled out a bid.

Only U.S. broadcast rights have been awarded so far for the 2010 Winter Games and 2012 Summer Games, with rights to 159 other countries still open.

Vancouver Olympic organizers get 49% of TV revenues. The Vancouver bid had projected their share of worldwide TV revenues at $400 million, based on early guidance from the Intl. Olympic Committee. This amount is already in the bag after NBC paid $820 million for the U.S. rights on June 6.

The CBC, in partnership with sports cablers TSN in English and RDS in French, paid an estimated $160 million to broadcast five consecutive Olympic Games, starting with Sydney in 2000 and concluding with Beijing in 2008. Since then, CTV has acquired TSN and RDS from Netstar Communications, making the partnership awkward at best.

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