News, features, and commentary from the biggest city in the Americas, Mexico City.

Slim Wins Olympic Rights

Mexican magnate - and all around good guy - Carlos Slim.

Mexican magnate – and all around good guy – Carlos Slim.

By Fritz Schtickelmeyer

As leaders of Mexico’s various telecommunications companies celebrate the approval of industry reforms, now comes news that Carlos Slim’s América Movil has won the Latin American rights (excluding Brazil) to broadcast the next two Olympic games, in Sochi, Russia (Winter) in 2014, and in Rio de Janeiro (Summer) in 2016.

(See our earlier story on Mexico’s telecom reforms.)

The deal gives Slim’s associated companies the exclusive transmission rights for all forms of media.

And there’s an extra level of  significance to the story, considering that Slim’s foray into telecom has been generally been limited to telephone and internet thus far, as opposed to traditional TV broadcasting. But with Mexico’s telecom reforms — and this deal — it appears he’s gung-ho on the idea of being a big shot on the broadcasting front as well.

So, sorry Televisa and TV Azteca, but you’re out of luck, despite the fact that I think both of you have done a fine job of covering the Olympics in recent years. Guess you’ll have to stick to fake reality TV programming. (América Movil has, however, indicated a willingness to “negotiate” with other companies wishing to broadcast the games. That means be prepared to pay plenty, Televisa and Azteca execs.)

The International Olympic Committee’s Chief Windbag, Jacques Rogge, heralded the news, no doubt still stunned at the amount of cash he and his cronies on the IOC are receiving as part of the deal.

“It’s a pretty bitchin’ deal,” Rogge is believed to have said privately. “Jackpot!”

Neither América Movil nor the IOC were willing to divulge the exact amount of cash involved in the deal, both probably ashamed to admit publicly the enormity of the transaction.

However, it’s being reported that the figure is somewhere in the ballpark of USD$1.55 billion. Peanuts!

By way of comparison, for the Olympic games of 2010 (Vancouver) and 2012 (London), the IOC hauled in a total of USD$3.8 billion for worldwide TV rights. NBC, for its part, forked over USD$4 billion in 2011, for a package that includes the U.S. broadcast rights to the games in 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020.

Just remember, folks — the Olympics are all about sport.

Meanwhile, América Movil is looking to wrap up its latest business deal, which will see it purchase the entire nation of Spain, with an option for Portugal (including the Azores).

About Fritz Schtickelmeyer

A veteran journalist, he's reported from across the globe. For a brief time, was a high school teacher in Minnesota.

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This entry was posted on March 22, 2013 by in Business/Industry, Television and tagged , , , .
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