Disney May Make Power Play For Olympics


Walt Disney and its ESPN sports brand are considering upping efforts to grab U.S. TV rights for the next round of Summer Olympics by adding a component that would make Walt Disney a big Olympic marketer and a possible licensee of Olympic-brand products.  

In an aggressive effort to perhaps pry away the long-held Summer and Winter Olympic franchise from NBC, a report in the Sports Business Journal says Walt Disney may become a big Olympic sponsor, something that could add $200 million or more to a $2.0 billion-plus bid for the next two Summer Olympics.

NBC's then-parent General Electric brand used this strategy for the 2010 and 2012 Summer Olympics, adding some $200 million to the overall television rights bid for NBC.

As with other International Olympic Committee major sponsorship deals -- under the Top Olympic Partner program -- companies get Olympic marquee and intellectual property rights to use in their marketing materials.



But the difference here would be the possible inclusion of licensing rights for Disney. Right now, the IOC gives licensing rights to the local Olympic organizing committee, which sells them.

Analysts feel the combination of one of the biggest names in global entertainment with one of the biggest global sporting events would make sense. It would help Disney expand into more global sports properties. In turn, speculation is that IOC could benefit by adding more young viewers and fans for its Olympic sports, via Disney's diverse entertainment platforms.

For the Summer Olympics games in 2014 Sochi, Russia, and 2016 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, NBC, ESPN and Fox are considered the big bidders of U.S. TV rights, according to the report.

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