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We'll Watch the Next Olympic Games Mostly Online


With the Vancouver Games' Internet downloads 68% higher than during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, fewer viewers will see athletes compete on TV

After 17 rousing days and the sight of Canadians throughout the Great White North celebrating Sunday's Gold Medal hockey victory and the country's record medal haul, all good things moose-t come to an end. Time to look forward to London, to Sochi, and to Rio. Trade that Molson's for a pint, a shot of vodka, a caipirinha. As an estimated 3.5 billion viewers in 200 territories did during the worldwide fortnight in Vancouver, it is likely that we'll all be viewing the upcoming Games in England, Russia, and Brazil digitally. Through last Monday night, the NBC Olympics mobile site and iTunes app generated 58.2 million page views, according to the network, up 68% from the entire 17-day total of 34.7 million for the Beijing Games. Yahoo! (YHOO) saw 18.1 million unique users and 103 million page views, far outpacing NBCOlympics.com. Will the 2014 games still be seen on the Peacock Network? According to a Sports Business Journal report, the IOC has not been able to generate significant interest in 2014 and 2016 U.S. TV rights. Of the media outlets that could submit bids, CBS (CBS) and Fox Sports (NWS) did not make the trip to Vancouver, Turner Broadcasting still hasn't committed to bidding, and ESPN hinted that its final offer would be less than the $2.1 billion NBC paid for Beijing and Vancouver. Regardless of which broadcaster ends up with the rights to the Sochi and Rio games, the U.S. appears to be playing much more nicely with the IOC. The Chicago Tribune notes that the IOC seems to be "celebrating the U.S. success." IOC President Jacques Rogge was quoted as saying: "If the U.S. comes first by whatever count, they will claim a victory and that would be good for them and the Olympic movement." marketable: Ohno, Vonn, and White

With Team USA's medal haul equally as remarkable as Canada's, the USOC has momentum to find solid new sponsors and business partners. Said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun: "Our success helps us commercially…Our sponsors get more value when there is more American success." Individual athletes stand to benefit greatly in the short term, although Winter Olympians don't make as lasting an historic impression on consumers as star participants in the Summer Games. As reported by SportsBusiness Daily, Baker Street Partners Executive Creative Director Bob Dorfman in his post-Olympics marketability report lists the marketing potential of Apolo Anton Ohno, Lindsey Vonn, and Shaun White as "Gold." He predicts that Vonn will double her current $3 million in endorsements, while White should surpass the $10 million mark in annual endorsement income. Vonn may also get some free Hollywood worker's comp advice on the pinky she broke in last Wednesday's giant slalom. The U.S. skier has reportedly been cast as a jury foreman in an upcoming episode of NBC's Law & Order.

Who are the most powerful athletes on and off the field? Click here to see the 2010 Bloomberg BusinessWeek Power 100.

Rick Horrow is a leading expert in the business of sports. As chief executive of Horrow Sports Ventures, he has been the architect of 103 deals worth more than $13 billion in sports and urban infrastructure projects. He is also the sports business analyst for CNN, Fox Sports, and the Fox Business Channel. Rick Horrow is a leading expert in the business of sports. As CEO of Horrow Sports Ventures, he has been the architect of 103 deals worth more than $13 billion in sports and other urban infrastructure projects. He is also the sports business analyst for CNN, Fox Sports, and the Fox Business Channel. Karla Swatek is vice-president of Horrow Sports Ventures and co-author of Beyond the Box Score: An Insider's Guide to the $750 Billion Business of Sports (February, 2010).

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