For $4.38 billion, NBC will remain the U.S. network of the Olympics through 2020.
NBC Sports head Mark Lazarus said the company intends to show every event of those four Olympics live on one of its platforms, either broadcast or Internet. That is a major change from NBC's philosophy under its recently resigned Dick Ebersol, who delayed broadcast of many high-interest events until prime time.
Fox and ESPN were the other bidders. Fox also submitted a bid for four Games; ESPN for just 2014 and 2016. The New York Times reported ESPN's bid was $1.4 billion; the IOC did not give figures on the losing bids.
NBC will pay $775 million for the 2014 Winter Games, $1.226 billion for the 2016 Summer Games, $963 million for the 2018 Winter Games and $1.418 billion for 2020.
The total could increase by $200 million or more if General Electric renews its global sponsorship with the IOC as expected. GE, which sold NBC Universal to Comcast this year, retains a 49 percent share in the network.
The 2014 Winter Games are in Sochi, Russia and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. No sites have been chosen for 2018 or 2020. The IOC will pick the 2018 winter site next month; Munich; Pyeongchang, South Korea; and Annecy, France are the finalists.
NBC has had U.S. rights for seven Olympics beginning with the 2000 Sydney Summer Games and going through the 2012 London Summer Games.
"The Olympics are in their DNA,"' IOC President Jacques Rogge said of NBC during a news conference Tuesday.
When Ebersol , NBC's Olympics guru, resigned last month over contract issues, there had been a feeling the network's new owner, Comcast, might not be as interested in the Olympics, especially after losing $223 million on the Vancouver Winter Games.
NBC paid $2.2 billion for the rights to the 2010 and 2012 Summer Games, nearly $900 million more than the next bid, by Fox.
"This secures the financial future for the next decade for, first of all, the United States Olympic Committee, but also for future organizing committees, for the (national Olympic committees) and for the international federations," Rogge said.
Under the terms of its current deal with the IOC, the USOC would get 12.75 percent of the $4.38 billion, or $558 million. But after intensifying complaints from many IOC members over the size of the USOC share, the USOC and IOC are in discussions about renegotiating that open-ended deal. USOC officials have said they hope a new agreement can be struck by next month.
Because it gets no federal funding, the USOC depends for nearly half its revenue on its share of U.S. TV rights and its 20 percent share of the IOC's global sponsorship program. The size of the winning bid is an affirmation of the value of the Olympics as a television property in the United States.
Despite a recessionary economy, Comcast/NBC has anted up $900 million more than the $3.5 billion it paid for rights to five Olympics from 2000 through 2008.