My Olympics 2016 Business and Technology Predictions

If you havent read, ESPN has come out and said that they will be aggressively bidding for the retransmission rights for the next available Olympics, which will be in 2016. Notice I didnt say TV rights. The battle for the Olympics rights will be in spreadsheet projections done by ESPN, NBC and probably DirecTV (my guess, not based on any info), that will have to take in to account what revenues can be generated on TV advertising (traditional and interactive), through cable/satellite subscription revenues, an ever increasing market size for mobile video and advertising, and of course audio/video and text advertising of all types.

My guess is that ESPN, with their great per sub charges and more trafficed internet sites will feel that they have the advantage over NBC or other bidders simply because they get more revenue per cable subscriber for their networks than NBC does for theirs, they can monetize their internet and mobile traffic in many more ways than nbcolympics.com and ABC can match up to NBC in terms of broadcast TV. With the exception of course that 1080i will always look far better than 720p… but I digress.

If DirecTV gets in the bidding, it will be a simple process. If the retrans rights cost 2Billion dollars, and they can generate revenue per new subscriber of 1k dollars per year, which is probably low for the year 2016, then all they have to do is add 2mm subscribers around the Olympics. All the advertising is gravy. It worked for the NFL, why not the Olympics ?

DirecTV could also push out events to the Discovery branded channels that Liberty Media owns, and probably also do a deal with at least 1, if not more of the broadcast networks. How much would it be worth to the CW Network to pay them for the rights to show some of the 2ndary events during primetime and replays of major events that were previously shown on DirecTV ?

Chase Carey of DirecTV and John Malone are two of the smartest dealmakers out there. It wouldn’t be a shock.

So what can NBC, or really any bidder do to give themselves an advantage ? What technology could they monetize in 2016 that would help get a return on their bid that doesn’t exist today ?

The answer is simple: The Out of Home Market

How many people can they convince to leave their homes to watch the games in a unique viewing venue. Would people pay 20 bucks to watch Michael Phelps go for medals 17 to 25 in a theater on a 3 story screen in the highest possible quality HD with a thousand other screaming fans ? Would they pay 30 bucks to watch it in 3D ?

Could they get 10mm people into theaters (thats the equivalent of a movie that did about 70mm in box office in 2 weeks). Would people get more excited about the Olympics than they did Batman ?

Would people go to the Royals stadium in KC to watch any of the games on a Daktronics screen that is 12 stories tall with 40k of their friends ? Would they fill 100k in the new Dallas Cowboys or the new Yankees stadiums whose HDTV screens will be even bigger ? How many different nights ? Particularly given that in 2016, those screens will be “old” and probably smaller than the current generation of screens in arenas and stadiums.

Of course it would also not be a stretch to place the biggest screens in existence in open air locations where huge gatherings and related events can take place. Would families pay 50 bucks for a day of Olympics fun outside on 100 acres ? Olympicsalooza anyone ? Why should it be any different than all the events that take place SuperBowl, or NBA or MLB All Star weekends ? Make it a huge party. In 100 cities across the country.

Could you sell 20mm tickets to attend out of home Olympic events at an average of 20 bucks each ? Thats 400mm minus the cut to the theaters, locations, etc of 50pct, or 200mm. Plus of course there is all the non stop advertising that will be built into all of these events. On screen, at stadium/field/farm/theater………

NBC proved that the Olympics can still be a communal event in the USA. Dark Knight proved that if enough people get excited about the same event, if you make it a special event, they will leave their homes to see it. Sports leagues have done an amazing job of building specialty events around the main event. Could technical advances in large stadium screens be a tipping point in the economics and presentation of the Olympics ?

How big can a screen be in 2016 and at what price ? Why not a panoramic emerssive experience in the new Cowboys stadium ? Or a 10 story tall 3D presentation of Olympics Basketball in the American Airlines Arena ? 20k or 50k or 100k people screaming U-S-A and watching on a screen that makes you feel as ifyou were there, is that worth 20 bucks ?

Or did I get it all wrong and all the new excitement in 2016 will be coming across the net through my PC to my TV🙂

51 thoughts on “My Olympics 2016 Business and Technology Predictions

  1. THE REAL REASON FOR ALL THIS ECONOMIC STRUGGLE IS REALLY SIMPLE.

    THE GOVT. SPENDS MORE THAN IT EARNS. FIRST OF ALL THE GOVT IS WAY TO BIG.

    WE DON’T NEED CAMERAS ON EVERY CORNER AND WE SURE DON’T NEED TO SPEND

    ALL THAT MONEY SO THE GOVERNMENT CAN READ OUR EMAILS AND WATCH US IN THE

    BATHROOMS ON THEIR SATELLITE. THE PEOPLE WERE MEANT TO RULE THE GOVT.

    NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. THE BIGGER THE GOVT. BECOMES THE LESS POWERFUL

    THE PEOPLE BECOME. THE GOVT HAS TAKEN AWAY OUR GUNS, NOW IN CA THE CELL

    PHONE, WHAT’S NEXT, OUR HOUSES, OUR KIDS, WHO KNOWS. THE OTHER REASON FOR

    THE ECONOMIC CRISIS IS THE SIN ISSUE. WE KILL BILLIONS OF GOD’S BABIES

    AND WE EXCEPT GOD TO BLESS THIS COLD BLOOD MURDEROUS NATION. GIVE ME A

    BREAK. YOU DON’T GET ON GOD’S GOOD SIDE BY KILLING HIS CHILDREN. THEY KILLED

    HIS SON JESUS AND THERE WAS A GREAT EARTHQUAKE AND PEOPLE ROSE FROM THE

    DEAD. THE WAY TO FIX THE ECONOMY IS FOR AMERICA TO RETURN TO GOD IN REPENTANCE

    AND MAKE HIM LORD AGAIN.

    Comment by SAMUEL LEOS -

  2. A huge screen might be less valuable than multiple smaller screens showing different camera angles. For some thoughts, see
    http://purplemotes.net/2008/09/07/out-of-home-video-viewing/

    Comment by Douglas Galbi -

  3. I for one hope that NBC will continue to air these wonderful and exciting events. I would not be happy to have to pay in any way to view something that has always been offered for free on public television stations.
    These Olympic events are so instrumental in so many ways for all people around the globe, let\’s just keep it real and keep it free for all!
    Sincerely,
    Betsy Buchanan

    Comment by Betsy Buchanan -

  4. Nope the average family will not go for it, based upon my personal experience. For our family it was a shared experience to see events we normally would not watch. I would not have gone to Kaufman Stadium (5 miles away) to watch the basketball team in the finals if they offered me free tickets. TO me its all about the convenience.

    Comment by Mike Allmon -

  5. I like to just stay home and watch the Olympics in the comfort of my own home, on tv. My computer isn\’t set up well enough to sit in a lounge chair and relax while watching something, it is basically a work station.

    Comment by Jerry Loggins -

  6. Mark:

    I understand your perspective on trying to create a great theater experience due to your ownership stakes. What I do not understand is your business rationale.

    If 99% of the population is looking for a new value proposition for the in-home experience why in the world would you be focused on a nitch market for making stuff BIG.

    At R.I.T. when I was a student in 1981 we had a saying that your big theater idea reminded me of. \”If you can\’t make it good make it big\”. Bad photo in 8×10 make it a well crafted 16×20.

    In my opinion, contrary to many directors, producers and business owners in your industry, the size of the display has no bearing on the beauty of the story telling, which is what all motion pictures are in the end analysis. Could be the Olympics or a feature film. Either way the at-home experience on my 50\” over the internet represents the three standard conditions of all successful business models: faster, cheaper, better. This is why I believe internet driven on-demand movies or TV will dominate within 5-10 years.

    I know you\’ll probably never change your perspective, which is good for guys like me, but it would be helpful if guys like you leave open the posibility that this perspeective is correct.

    I\’m in front of 3 network execs this week for partnership/other discussions, one a founder of the entire cable tv concept many years ago, and I am finding that the disconnect between us is this perspective chasm.

    I view your perspectives now as part of the problem and not part of the solution for the 99% market nitch.

    It would be great if, even just once, I would see a Mark Cuban blog entry titled \”The Future of TV is The Internet\”. When you write that blog you would once again lead the industry and help developers like me bridge the chasm and build the value. That statement would be big news if you ever came to that conclusion.

    I remain hopeful.

    Best.

    Chris

    Comment by Chris Caffee -

  7. Mark,
    Is it true that you are looking to buy Team Jet and Pace Airlines?

    Comment by Stephanie -

  8. NBC\’s coverage was a disaster. And only because of one main reason. On-demand viewers today far out ride the handful of competition that was dished up to us by NBC across the board. Much like DirectTV\’s NFL Ticket, the time has come to let the customer choose.

    Comment by SatGuy1 -

  9. The most powerful tool people have in their homes and in their entertainment lives is the internet because of the number of people that produce content and the ease of finding what you want. People aren\’t looking for an excuse to spend money even if it is exiting to share important cultural moments with strangers. Cases where that sort of enterprise is profitable will be the exception rather than the rule.

    Comment by EricB -

  10. Mark,

    Great thoughts and great discussion — but time zones be darned, this is what you\’ll see:

    NBCOlympics, or Fox, or ESPN or whomever will buy the whole darn thing and parcel out all the retrans rights on a SPORT-BY-SPORT basis. NBC failed to monetize traffic around those other sports — badminton, table tennis, cycling — because they failed to get channels around them. Channels where any person anywhere with any device could watch like mad.

    I wanted badminton, and I would have watched it live but NBC\’s coverage and my lack of the right computer system at the right place and time meant the only coverage I saw was sitting in London, Ontario, Canada watching the CBC show a Canuck lose in the first round.

    Take Track, Diving, Synchro, anything else — that\’s how it would work best.

    Rev share models like this work quite well with college sports — where the non-rev sports sell subscriptions online, or monetize from sponsors and ads.

    Great discussion, keep it up, good luck buying the Cubs.

    Comment by Dave from U Sphere -

  11. Its just exciting to mention Olympic……Cos in my country it had just passed, or may never

    Comment by stella -

  12. \”With the exception of course that 1080i will always look far better than 720p… but I digress\”

    Not according to the experts at the last 3 IBC conferences. 1080i looked better than 720P at the source – in the station – but the received quality universally favored 720P. That is, 720P delivered better quality images to the viewer than 1080i because of the inefficiencies in encoding interlace.

    http://www.ebu.ch/en/technical/trev/trev_300-ibc-2004.html

    Philip

    Comment by Philip Hodgetts -

  13. Apple should bid on the Olympics. Olympic coverage will be exclusively available on the iPhone V.

    Comment by Rizzo -

  14. Oh yes, 3D olympics would be incredible. Pretty disappointed with how NBC handled it this time.

    Comment by self esteem king -

  15. The Gathering

    Another factor contributing is the build up to the games. Would Batman have done as well without the death of Heath Ledger before the movie opened? The first one didn\’t. Will there be any story stronger than Phelps, who I would argue is at the peak of his career and while he\’s amazing, he literally can\’t do more than we saw this year but add to his medal count. He\’s can\’t get more than 8 right.

    Will China continue to push their athletes to gold podiums and make it less fun for Americans to gather together to watch our asses getting beat.

    IF the build-up to the Olympics was more than a 30 sec spot followed by two 15 sec spots at the next break and they could build anticipation for events, then they have a better shot to pull off something.

    I don\’t believe you could fill 50k seats every night for 2 weeks for the Olympics without 1) good creative promoting the build up (starting earlier than this year) 2) More storylines for the athletes (ties into build up) and 3)an amazing venue that will be better than the comfy sofa in the living room before putting the kids to bed.

    I heard all the good stories after the Olympics, Phelp\’s father, the weightlifter\’s wife passing, the speed the human body is capable of…All this should have been uncovered before and then I would not have missed because now I\’m routing for individuals as well as my country.

    Comment by Michael -

  16. I watched Phish\’s last show ever in a live simulcast in a movie theater and the experience was unreal. Granted unlike the Olympics the only other place to see the show was at the actual venue I still think the idea was amazing. The theater was packed and the sound/picture quality were incredible. I would pay $30 to go see a night of Olympic sports in a movie theater.

    Comment by Jeff -

  17. Host city for 2016 will be announced Oct. 2, 2009. Remaining bid cities are Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janiero and Tokyo.

    Rio is just one hour ahead of U.S. ET, and I think they already know how to throw a party.

    TV coverage from Rio or Chicago could be off the hook!

    If people will pay to sit in a theater to watch Leonard-Duran, circa 1980, or the Metropolitan Opera, circa 2008, they\’ll certainly pay to watch some Olympic events in theater-arena-stadium-Central Park settings.

    Sign me up!

    Comment by Ken Carpenter -

  18. It\’s a grand vision. In the early 1990s, I heard a guy in the pay phone business who thought they needed to be \”experiences\”, like a giant shoe or a butterfly. Or did he get it all wrong and all the new excitement would be over cell phones?

    Comment by BoscoH -

  19. The Olympics are just absolutely beyond laughable. Rifle, archery, badminton, ping pong,taekwondo, judo, rowing, 500 medals for gymnastics, 500 medals for swimming. LOL

    hahaha. It would ber more entertaining having the Olypics making real football a sport watching the NFL players go against Korea Or Uganda. Now that would draw rating….at least for 1 Olympics.

    Phelps better cash in because in 4 months, hardly anyone will even recognize that guy.

    I like how basketball is played every other day throughout the Olypics but in the end, you only get 1 medal for it yet you get multiple mmedals for something that is not even real like rowing (canoeing). Might as well have a dribbling contest, 3 point contest, etc.

    Doesn\’t matter anyway, the Olmypics are about as real as the Little league World Series. I am just glad both are over.

    And by the way, Jason Kidd. Geeze. Yep, Olymics are all about patriotism. hahahah. Can\’t beleive anyone would ever buy that for a second. Gee, a millionaire coming into a casino for 3 weeks and the casino is hospitable??? wonder why. I\’m sure it is all innocent. If you can\’t trust a pro. athlete, who can you trust

    Comment by John -

  20. Why would I ever want to leave the comforts of my home to watch a sporting event on a tv? It\’s one thing to be there live, to feel part of history. To watch it on a tv, no matter how big, or with how many like minded drunken sports crazies is not the same. Besides how good will my tv in my house be by 2016? 120 inch screen about a half inch thick, OLED, or some other better than LCD or plasma technology. You want to get really dreamy maybe we\’ll have FIOS to enough houses that we\’ll have streaming 4k video. Nikon just announced a DSLR that will also shoot 720p. Red is going to have a soccer mom friendly 3k video camera soon. In 8 years everyone will be shooting video of their kids blowing out birthday cake candles at better than 1080p quality and they\’ll be showing it on their better than 1080p quality screen.

    You\’re also not factoring in peak oil. People will be staying home more and more. We just saw what a demand ramp can do to global oil prices, next we\’ll see what a perpetual supply decrease looks like.

    And finally there\’s the time factor. Chicago is bidding, and would be great. But what about Madrid, where seeing it live would mean early morning or daytime viewing here. Tokyo would be like this year. I went to my parents house one night and they were watching the gymnastics, and I almost slipped up and told them who won. I\’d read the results hours before online, they were blissfully unaware. Fewer and fewer people are blissfully unaware these days, we want our sports live or not at all. Even Rio de Janero would be great for west coast, so so for east coast.

    Wait wait, one more thing. Comfort. You probably spend enough time jumping up out of your seat to notice, but i\’ve been to a Mavs game, been to a few baseball games, etc. and the seating isn\’t exactly movie theater reclining comfort. My knees are jammed into the row in front, I have to get up and squeeze in everytime the beer guzzling swine i\’m sharing a row with half to go to the john, etc. Outdoors bring your own chair, festival style is ok, but it\’s not as comfy as at my house, and the beers don\’t cost $8 at my house either. Oh wait, 2016, so the beers will be $15.

    Comment by Moss -

  21. Ok. Mark. I like the idea, but I don\’t like the execution of the idea. First of all. Olympics are very different form any other event, because there is no main sport to watch and the main action is relatively short.(It doesn\’t take Michael Phelps an hour to swim his distance) I don\’t believe people will pay 20 bucks to watch Michale Phelps swim for 5 minutes on the big screen. Also the scheduling of the events doesn\’t work according to drawing power. There will be instances where Michael Phelps will swim at the same time as U.S. basketball teams plays someone. IOC will not give a damn about such things as scheduling to suit the american consumer. On another note the coverage of olympics lacks overall quality that distinguishes vents such as Dark Knight, NBA Finals, Superbowl, etc. From story perspective to overall coverage, because generally the american media cover the superstars and not specific sport. So just an example if michale phelps got injured in one of the first heats, then what would be overall story and would have been impact on the olympics. I will really prefer the one platform which unites the whole olympic related media under one roof. For example right before the beginning of the match between the Spain and USA I would like to see any interview given bu the dude named Rubio on the Spanish squad, because for me personnaly it is huge story that guy 17 year old. basicalyy junior/senior in high school will play huge minutes against USA, instead of being fed through the tube the redemption storu of USA, because in two years USA will have to do the same thing again, again and again untill the end of time. The platform is important, but context is even more important then the dish.

    Comment by Tima -

  22. Mark, by 2016, I think Technology will be at a point where the supplier doesn\’t dictate the format but rather makes it available in all formats, so you get it on your PDA, or on a 20 ft HD screen setup in your back yard. I do like the idea of a surround video wall in a stadium, I would pay to see that!

    John

    Comment by John Rettberg -

  23. Great Blog, once again.

    Personally? I wouldn\’t leave my house to watch the Olympics. It\’s just not that exciting to me. Watching them via the Internet? that appeals to me a bit. I can tell you the bit of the Olympics I watched I hated NBC\’s coverage and that\’s just the bottom line.

    I\’ve only tested 1080i vs 720p on my PS3 and Xbox 360, and I think in certain scenarios one looks better then the other and vice versa. But I don\’t think it\’s enough difference to really get excited over….

    Comment by Dyno Tuning CT -

  24. Great post.

    The problem with NBC this year is that they did offer on-line viewing of the olympics just they didn\’t advertise it probley due to the fact the couldn\’t get neisen ratings on the internet. I watched some of the basketball games at work on the computer, but only during the semi\’s because I wanted watch Gay-nobli loose.

    A 3D viewing of a live basketball game would be amazing. Think about it, AAC filled with thousands of fans routing on USA in a foreign country yet it look liked they were there.

    Keep the great posts Mark.

    Comment by Mark D -

  25. I agree!!! JumpStart33.com

    Comment by Coach Godwin -

  26. Speaking as a guy who spends more than his share of time in bars, I did not get the feeling that people were coming out to bars specifically to watch the Olympics the way they do to watch a big NFL or college football game.

    Bar viewing is probably a pretty good indicator of how successful a sports event can be in a theater setting.

    I think your idea has a future for team sports with passionate local followings (or even the World Cup in certain markets). Not sure the Olympics are ever going to be the right vehicle for something like this.

    Comment by Mikey -

  27. I know it is slightly different than what Mark has proposed here, but if you have ever experienced the first weekend of March madness at a Las Vegas sports book…that\’s the feeling Mark is trying to generate here. In NYC, the Mets are broadcasting a game into the old Ziegfield Theater on 54th street soon…interesting.

    Comment by Clyde McPhat -

  28. Interesting, but not sold. Would be a cool test to see if this could fly w/ festival-like Super Bowl parties. I think that would have a better shot than the Olympics…imo, too many variables that ultimately makes the Olympics a so-so model for this type of event. But Super Bowl? Could be big…and fun.

    Comment by Dan -

  29. I guess I am missing what I am getting for my $20 that i cannot get at home? IMAX or possibly 3D? Are you sure that won\’t be in my home by 2016?

    Would i have paid this year to see phelps on Imax or in 3D? (lets add in the cost of gas, parking, markup on drinks and tips)Nope.

    I\’m getting to the point i won\’t even go see movies, why would i also do it with sports?

    Comment by Jo -

  30. what an \’american\’ view of the future, and i mean that in a good way!

    Comment by ming -

  31. I havent been to the movies in awhile, and certainly not *early* to the movies. I went early last week and, for the first time, sat through 15-20 minutes of TV commercials (then 15-20 minutes of movie commercials, but thats irrelevant).

    Watching the TV commercials on that big, dynamic, dramatic screen, I was moved. I dont watch any of the shows advertised, and Im still not going to watch them. But I was struck by the effect of seeing clips of them on the big screen. If there was an event or a show that I did want to watch, rabidly, I would seriously consider plunking down money to see it on a huge screen, in high res, with awesome sound, with the excitement of an audience around me.

    Sports are obvious and I dont know why this hasnt already been done. Us hardcore hoop fans flock to sports bars to watch big games even when we have our own big screen TVs. Its the congregation thats the draw. I only pay to see about one NBA game a year, but I watch every (and I mean every) Lakers game on TV. Yet, I would pay to see a big game (say last years Finals) in the glory of a movie theater. Of course, theaters would have to get liquor licenses to make it work . . .

    But I think a sea change is in order. Theater revenues are declining because there are so many options competing for the viewing dollars. Theaters are not adapting as they have in the past when vaudeville houses began to show movies. Your earlier post about the platform being the message applies here. Theaters have unique advantages they offer community and a hugely visceral experience. While sporting events are the obvious and proven example, doesnt it seem equally obvious that a seasons penultimate American Idol would be a colossal draw on a massive screen with Dolby sound?

    Further, the best dramatic TV these days is worthy of the big screen. Why wouldnt House, Desperate Housewives, or Numb3rs be able to draw their hardcore to see the shows in the best fidelity possible? And this is to say nothing of phenomena like The Sopranos. Its kinda back to the future where the movie houses will be showing a different bill every week, and each weekly bill changing daily.

    There probably should never be a TV series that debuts in theaters. But once a series has proven to be water cooler fodder, then its ready for the big screen.

    TV in movie theaters is not something that could happen. It should happen.

    Comment by Duke Cullinan -

  32. Mark,
    Your ideas for making the olympics a more public experience are good in theory, but without something more than just a giant tv, I don\’t think they will take off. By 2016, a (large) HDTV broadcasting in 1080i/p will cost next to nothing, and frankly I wouldn\’t be surprised if they were 3D capable as well. You\’re going to have to offer more than just a 3 story tv to entice people out of their homes. Sitting at the top of the AAC watching a 2 story tv would probably be pretty close to the same experience (in terms of relational size) as sitting at home with a large HDTV.
    You need to focus more on the social aspect of the event. I can get behind 20m people going bananas watching Michael Phelps touch the wall one-hundredth of a second before his opponent, but the massive TV is just a gimic.
    Im certain you would do it up right, with the TVs out in Victory Plaza, the DJ, and all the oversized kids bouncy-whirly-jig playpens, which would help. The party aspect is what will get people out of their homes, not the event itself. Frankly, if you rolled out the \”Mavs\” experience, you could probably get 20m of us out to the AAC to watch Wilonsky on The Ultimate Trailer Show.
    Pitch the idea of watching the olympics in mass to the advertisers, but the idea of the party to the people, and you\’ve got gold.

    Comment by Kyle G -

  33. Sounds good to me…unless the Olympics are in Paris…or South Africa…and can\’t happen \’live\’ here. I\’ll go to a stadium or movie theater…unless I have to be at work or it\’s 3 AM…

    If they happen in Chicago, you\’ve got a gold mine in the US. Otherwise, I\’ll log on to ESPN.com and see what happened and just wait (half-heartedly) for the tape delay later on.

    Comment by Sam Davidson -

  34. Sorry to rain on your parade, but do people care enough about the Olympics to go to a big venue to watch it? I don\’t. I don\’t know many people that do.

    Some of this depends too on where the Olympics are held. People like to watch things live but the hours sucked for these current Olympics. What I really wanted to watch was basketball, but the games were mostly on at 8 am while I was at work, so I missed every single one of the.

    The Phelps thing was cool too (and the only thing I could get into), but again those were on at 11 pm or so. I\’m not going to go out to a big venue to watch a race that lasts only a couple minutes, I\’ll watch that from my home.

    Comment by Kris -

  35. The big difference between the Olympics and other sporting events is that the Olympics consists of a large amount of short events. Track sprints, swimming events, even volleyball games are just too short to travel somewhere and watch unless it\’s in person.

    Comment by Will -

  36. @SRK, what the heck was that all about?

    Comment by Josh Smith -

  37. I think you are probably on to something with this. I guess we will see soon enough.

    Comment by Bartimus -

  38. This year\’s Olympics made me finally feel the need to buy an HDTV, but if I knew it would become an out-of-home event, I would probably categorize it alongside football as a thing I prefer to do in a bar, and thusly, would continue to avoid the step in buying an HDTV

    Comment by Josh Smith -

  39. @Klemens: I was there for a few games (not that one, but others)… and yea, it\’s not at all futuristic, just a question of culture. It works in some places / countries and doesn\’t really in others, as seen during the last Soccer European Cup in Austria and Switzerland.

    @Marcs post: I rather would predict a slow, but steady decline, of interest in international sports. Why? Because there will be the regular BALCO-situation every few years… The doping-hunters might still be \”stupid\” and will continue to lack behind, but the steady stream of scandals will sooner or later erode interest, even in markets like the US or Spain where the viewers are somewhat uncritical of \”medicine cheaters\”.

    Therefore, your idea seems rather great only for the sports/events that stay rather scandal-free. Track & Field and swimming, which are the core of the Olympic program, surely will not.

    And one not-so-unlikely suspect is Phelps. In his case they probably would arrange a somewhat-strange retirement, as in the case of Ian Thorpe, but that also wouldn\’t really make it \”better\”. Even more likely suspects are the Jamaican Sprinters… and the Chinese and Russians… well, I guess anybody somewhat realistic knows what there is going on.

    Comment by Johann -

  40. As for \”Out of Home\” sports viewing, that\’s not that futuristic. Check out the soccer World Cup 2006 in Germany, millions of people gathered for \”Public Viewing\” in the big cities. According to Wikipedia, the Sweden-Germany game was watched by 700.000 people in Berlin at the \”Fanmeile\” alone. One have to admit that these events were free of charge, so revenue was restricted to advertising and selling licensed stuff (beer, e.g.). So I totally agree that many people would pay to watch big sport events like the olypmics in a theater or stadium, if only for the group experience.

    Comment by Klemens -

  41. Very forward thinking observations on how new media technology will have an impact on the 2016 Olympics. I was especially interested in the views about using a 10 story tall 3D presentation of Olympics Basketball in the AA Arena.

    Comment by Legal Server -

  42. Pretty interesting to think about the big strategic bets on Olympic content that will go way beyond covering the nut in ad revs.

    Imagine if Comcast opened up a few DOCSIS 3.0 channels for totally immersive on-demand sport-surfing? Every live camera could be accessible to an on-demand viewer.

    Or think of the leverage Verizon could have with its well-deployed 2016 fiber, along with its mobile/wireless subscriber base?

    Thanks for the food for thought. . .

    Comment by Travis -

  43. The Olympics are a cultural event. Id love to have the option to see them on a huge screen with a big crowd, but more importantly, I think we should all be able to see all the events live (or recorded) in HD on any device we want. The internet, with open formats and without exclusivity deals, would allow this by 2016. And I bet we could even find announcers for every event, even if its just some kid really into the obscure event who layers his funny commentary over the stream.

    Comment by William Maggos -

  44. The Olympics are hit or miss. One year you have compelling storylines and the next you don\’t. I don\’t think theaters will work.

    What I would want for the next Olympics is for these ridiculous barriers to dissapear. I hate the fact that I have to watch what NBC arbitrarily decides I want to watch. If I\’m an Italian in America I want to see events where Italy is in contention, Spanish, Japanese, etc, etc. Somebody needs to invent a system where you connect your computer to your television and then you look at a schedule grid, see every single sport airing then specifically pick out before hand what you want to watch. It\’s embarassing that in this day and age we are limited to a limited number of channels or watching it online. We need to take the concept of TIVO and make a quantum leap.

    Comment by HJ -

  45. 1080i looks better than 720p for sporting events?

    It\’s clearly better for scenes that are relatively static, but for high action events, you only have 540 lines per update vs 720. For a high motion scene, one would think it could be worse due to jaggies formed from one frame to the next due to the split nature of the 1080i signal.

    I\’m wondering why you think differently.

    Comment by sp -

  46. techcrunch.com had a good piece today about NBC falling flat with online revenue. You make a good point about ESPN, they wouldn\’t drop the ball there.

    Personally, however, I watched about 10mins of total coverage this time around. And that was to help me fall asleep.

    Comment by David -

  47. Oh yes, 3D olympics would be incredible. Pretty disappointed with how NBC handled it this time.

    Comment by sivori -

  48. Cubes, you may just have more massive ideas in your head than dollars in the bank. You\’re usually absurdly ahead of your time, but you may be right in time with this one.

    Think about how long it\’s already taken this sort of technology to gain traction. When IMAX technology first came out, waaaayy back in the 70\’s and 80\’s, it was all about original content, and went largely underutilized for entertainment. Documentaries and 3D flicks were pretty much the only thing to present until recently, when they started airing major motion pictures in the theaters. Suddenly, everyone knew what IMAX was, and it has lifted all the other content in the theaters as well. They\’re going to be looking for more secondary content to air in their theaters.

    And so, for that matter, will \”regular\” theaters — I guarantee it. Fathom Events, for example, will want to try to score a piece of it. And I know Landmark theaters will as well!

    The internet will continue to play a larger role as well. You\’re well known for your criticism of YouTube. But YouTube was just pandora\’s box, in my opinion. Google may never figure out how to monetize that service — but the key was, they taught the ENTIRE industry how to viralize their otherwise mundane websites. Now, MSNBC, CNN, Comedy Central — you name it, they have a video service where they can produce content (or users can create it), and then fans can embed the videos on their blogs or forums. This may not seem like monetization, but it\’s a step. It is, quite simply, free advertising. People come back to CNN and Comedy Central in droves now to watch new videos and score some for their blog, each time linking back and branding the original sites.

    YouTube may have started the web video frenzy, but it\’s the old guard content producers who will have the last laugh. The most recent olympics were just a taste of what\’s to come, and if people aren\’t going to watch Michael Phelps in IMAX or Landmark theaters, or in Central Park, they\’ll be searching out select clips on their favorite blogs, provided by like-minded people.

    A high tide lifts all boats. It\’s not that there will be a \”next big thing,\” but that everyone will have access to it, in the way they want to see it.

    Comment by Mark -

  49. While I normally don\’t \”root\” for any network to win some sort of contract like this, and I agree with you about picture quality, I did like reading quotes from ESPN about how they\’re interested in showing many more live events. It\’s 2008, tape delay is fine as a repeat, but not as a first showing.

    As long as DirecTV doesn\’t keep the events on DirecTV-only (a la NFL package), that doesn\’t bother me either, but since it\’s not much of an option in the city, I\’d rather it be kept to NBC/ABC/Fox, etc.

    Comment by David -

  50. No – people won\’t. It really depends on the time zone though. I want to be able to watch it live on my computer, like most gen-y people. NBC\’s coverage absolutely sucked. Totally misunderstood the power of the internet.

    Comment by bobby -

  51. There is certainly precedence for this type of event in your home town of Pittsburgh.

    http://penguins.nhl.com/team/app?articleid=364410&page=NewsPage&service=page

    If over 13,000 people will show up to watch a Stanley Cup game on Mellon Arena\’s small video screen, I can imagine that type of community-watching experience would be successful on a giant screen with a festival atmosphere.

    Comment by James -

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