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NBC versus USOC

USA Gymnastics recently signed a tv deal to air its biggest events on NBC and its Universal Sports channel, according to the Associated Press. However, the article adds that the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) recently struck a deal with Comcast to have a network go on the air after the Vancouver Olympics, which has apparently "riled" NBC.

The Comcast deal came about after negotiations with NBC and Universal broke down.

Plans for the new network have riled both NBC and the International Olympic Committee, which is worried about alienating the network that is providing the IOC's biggest chunk of revenue through its $2.2 billion broadcasting deal for 2010 and 2012.

NBC still plans to bid for the next Olympic TV package for the 2014 and 2016 Games.

"As we've said consistently since the questions started being asked, we fully intend to be at that table when the IOC decides" on the TV deal, said NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel.

He said he didn't want to get drawn into a discussion about the USOC's network plans.

"I will tell you, that from an NBC perspective, we're committed to coverage of Olympic sports," Zenkel said. "We're committed and very passionate about the Olympic Games."

The article also includes a quote from David Raith, executive director of U.S. Figure Skating.

David Raith, executive director of U.S. Figure Skating, said even though his sport has a home at NBC, he'd like to see the USOC network succeed, knowing that would help lower profile sports and the Olympic movement in general.

"There are some questions I think many of us would like to see answered," he said. "But in the end, we support all of them and we'd like to see all of them be successful."

I am wondering why Raith was quoted in this article - is he trying to hedge his bets in case NBC and the other major networks finally decide they are done with figure skating? NBC's deal has been great for those of us with Universal Sports and Oxygen (although not perfect - there are still many Grand Prix events missing from the lineup!) but those without those cable channels would be out of luck. But if the USOC network ends up getting the rights to a lot of figure skating, then those without Comcast would probably miss a lot. I guess at this point, we've just got to hope that we get the right cable channel (or subcribe to Icenetwork and have it work on our computer) in order to enjoy figure skating more than every four years. I'll be honest though - the USOC network idea scares me on a personal level because I'm not the biggest Comcast fan and I figure I might not use that service at my next place of residence, but what if skating is on there? AUGH! What a decision. heh.