Can NBC Make Money From The 2018 Olympics In Pyeongchang?

Comcast’s NBCUniversal will face a potentially serious programming and financial challenge in 2018 now that the International Olympic Committee has announced that the Winter Games that year will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The media company recently agreed to pay $4.4 billion for the domestic TV rights to the four Olympics between 2014 and 2020 — even though it didn’t know where the final two would be held. Barclays Capital projected that Comcast would lose about $127 million in the 2018 games. But that calculation could look optimistic now that we know where the events will be held. The problem is the time difference: Pyeongchang is 14 hours ahead of New York in the winter. That likely means NBC will have few, or no, popular events that it can broadcast live in prime time. The Winter Games in 2014 will be in Sochi, Russia, and the summer events in 2016 will be in Rio de Janeiro.

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