Comcast CEO: Telemundo Soccer World Cup Rights Deal 'Should Be Profitable'

6:15 AM PST 11/02/2011 by Georg Szalai
Thorsten Wagner/Getty Images

"We will cover and cross-promote games and events across our various channels on broadcast and cable, as well as online, wireless and on-demand," Brian Roberts said.

NEW YORK- Telemundo's recent acquisition of U.S. Spanish-language rights to future soccer World Cups is expected to be a profitable investment for the company, Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, whose company owns a majority stake in Telemundo parent NBCUniversal, said Wednesday.

"We will cover and cross-promote games and events across our various channels on broadcast and cable, as well as online, wireless and on-demand," he said on Comcast's third-quarter earnings conference call. "This investment should be profitable for Telemundo, a real game changer for that business and an opportunity for our company."

NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke later on the call also said that his team is continuing to look for programming investment opportunities for NBCUniversal and felt Telemundo's play for the World Cup was a good example for an investment that makes sense and is worth the spending. "There are two major players - we have 20 percent market share, Univision has 80 percent," he said. "The premier property is World Cup soccer, and we think we structured a very attractive, long-term deal."

Telemundo beat out incumbent Univision in the bidding for the 2015 through 2022 FIFA World Cup rights, which include the men's and women's tournaments.

The deal is said to be worth more than $600 million, nearly double the $325 million that Univision paid for its current package. Analysts have said it will be difficult for Telemundo to make a profit on it, saying it will help get attention for other programming and boost advertising rates.

The rights package covers all platforms except radio and includes the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, FIFA Confederations Cup and all Under-20 and Under-17 FIFA World Cup matches.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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