Bids coming in for 2014 and 2016 Olympics

Rights now being sold territory by territory

COLOGNE, Germany -- The bidding for the rights to the 2014 and 2016 Olympic games enters its final lap Friday as broadcasters from across Europe submit their offers to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The 2014 and 2016 games could prove the most lucrative ever for the IOC, which for the first time in years is selling rights territory by territory in Europe instead of going with its traditional block deal with pubweb group the European Broadcasting Union.

The EBU, which represents channels in 56 countries, paid €746 million ($1 billion) for rights to the 2010 and 2012 Olympics. Earlier this year, the IOC signed a 40-territory deal valued at €1 billion ($1.4 billion) with Sportfive, the rights group controlled by France's Lagardere.

The fight for the Olympics could be particularly fierce in Germany where public broadcasters ARD and ZDF square off against News Corp-controlled pay service Sky. Nabbing the Olympics would be a major coup for Sky, which is looking to boost its profile in Germany following a major relaunch of its pay service here earlier this month. News Corp's Sky Italia and Fox Turkey have already secured rights for the 2014/2016 Olympics in their respective territories.

Other big unsold territories in Europe include Spain, France and the U.K. British regulations, however, mean the rights must go to a free-to-air broadcaster. With ITV cash-strapped, the BBC appears the buyer of last resort.
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