Rio might raise Olympic stakes for networks

NBC, ABC said to be mounting big bids for Games

The choice of Rio de Janeiro as host of the 2016 Olympics will probably raise the stakes for the networks competing to broadcast the games in the U.S.

Longtime Olympics home NBC has a deal with the International Olympic Committee that expires after the 2012 Games.

The 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the 2016 Summer Games are yet to be awarded, with the IOC bids expected to start taking in proposals soon.

In addition to NBC, ABC -- partnered with its cable sports powerhouse sibling ESPN -- are said to be mounting a formidable bid for the two Games.

While a domestic city like Chicago, which lost in the first round of the finals, is always a dream for U.S. broadcasters in terms of viewer interest and logistics, Rio de Janeiro's win over Tokyo and Madrid should be welcome news for the networks bidding to cover the Olympics.

The picturesque Brazilian city is in a time zone only one hour ahead of U.S.' East Coast, making live coverage of most of the events possible, an important consideration in the Internet age, when sports results are disseminated instantaneously.

Additionally, Rio is a popular vacation destination for Americans and has an instant name recognition.

What's more, given the large Latin American population in the U.S., having a Latin American city host the Olympics for the first time might provide an extra ratings boost among Latino viewers.
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