I came across a very interesting story in The Globe and Mail this morning. There were to pieces of information in The Globe story that were of interest. The first, unsurprisingly, is CBC and Bell resubmitted their 2014/2016 Olympic broadcasting bid to the IOC, presumably at a slightly higher price tag than the approximately $70 million bid the IOC rejected earlier this year. As expected, CBC and Bell are reluctant to pay big money until the NHL and NHLPA confirm that hockey’s biggest stars will play in Sochi.
What is possibly more interesting is that Yahoo Canada is considering a bid for the Games. Yahoo doesn’t have a conventional TV station in Canada, although presumably if they won rights they could sub-license some coverage to a conventional broadcaster. Instead coverage would be streamed online. While more and more Canadians are turning to internet streaming, it still doesn’t have the reach of conventional television broadcasting. Yahoo also has other problems, such as having no commentators or production staff with less than two years to go until the Sochi Olympics.
CBC/Bell will probably bid again once the status of NHL players for the 2014 Olympics is confirmed in the summer. The broadcasters will either raise their bid, or the IOC will lower their expectations at that time. Unconventional broadcasters, such as Yahoo, could cause the bidding to go up, but in the end I think the IOC is likely to award rights to CBC/Bell.
EDIT: According to Ollie Williams, who has knowledge of how Olympic broadcasts work, Yahoo would have time to put a production together in less than two years, if need be. As long as Yahoo could get the right executive team in place, finding production staff and commentators wouldn’t be too hard.