Canada's CBC and Bell Media Pull Out of 2014 and 2016 Olympic Rights Bidding

Olympic Games

Having failed with a lowball bid to the IOC to broadcast the Sochi and Rio Games, the Canadian broadcasters will weigh their options.

TORONTO – Canadian broadcasters Bell Media and the CBC on Monday gave up on their joint shot at gold by pulling out of negotiations for the Canadian media rights to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games and the 2016 Olympic Games.

Having united to submit a low-ball bid for the rights to the Sochi and Rio de Janeiro Olympics that was rejected by the IOC, the arch-rival broadcasters said they will dissolve their bid partnership and regroup.

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"We presented not one, but two fiscally responsible bids that are reflective of the Canadian marketplace," Phil King, president of CTV programming and sports, a division of Bell Media, said Monday of being unable to hammer out agreement with the IOC.

"We were optimistic that an agreement could have been reached but it has to work for all parties…regrettably, that didn't happen," Jeffrey Orridge, executive director of CBC sports properties at the Canadian public broadcaster added.

"In light of this decision, CBC will step back and take some time to consider our options,” he added.

The CBC and Bell Media partnership follows Bell Media parting ways with rival Rogers Media as part of the Canadian Olympic Broadcast Consortium that broadcast the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver.

Bell Media and Rogers will still broadcast the upcoming 2012 London Games to Canadians.

During the previous cycle, the CTV-Rogers consortium paid a record $90 million rights fee to broadcast the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver, and another $63 million for the 2012 London Olympics rights to the IOC.

In contrast, the CBC paid $73 million for the Canadian rights to the 2006 and 2008 Games.

The current impasse in Canadian bids to the IOC for the 2014 and 2016 Games indicates the value of Olympic TV rights here, far from continuing to rise, could be headed southwards in the emerging digital age where measuring multi-platform audiences is fraught with difficulty.