A little more than a week before the start of NBC Universal’s 2008 Olympic coverage, Cox Communications has confirmed that it has reached a distribution deal with the programmer for the 2010 Winter and 2012 Summer Games.
Terms of the agreement are unclear, but the MSO – which also said it will distribute NBC’s enhanced 2008 Olympics video-on-demand, broadband and linear channel package – is the first MSO to officially confirm an extension of the current NBCU Olympics deal, which expires at the end of this year. NBC has the U.S. television and digital rights to the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and the 2012 Summer Games in London.
NBCU is said to have been seeking “a premium fee” from distributors for digital and TV rights to the 2010 and 2012 Olympics, packages that included additional high-definition, video-on-demand, broadband and interactive content.
Cox officials would not comment on the financial details of the agreement. NBC Universal declined comment.
Cox announced Wednesday that several of its systems will provide enhanced coverage of the 2008 Olympics, including its 1.6 million-subscriber Hampton Roads, Va. unit. In upgraded areas of the system, Cox will offer more than 800 hours of high-definition Olympics coverage, including dedicated NBC Olympic soccer and basketball channels.
A Cox spokesman said not every Cox system will offer the enhanced HD and linear channels, declining to identify the markets.
Verizon’s FiOS TV last week also announced a deal with NBC Universal for the enhanced HD package, although it’s still unclear whether that package includes the 2010 and 2012 games
“Through our bundle of services, including high-speed Internet, digital cable and on demand, Cox is clearly the best place to go for Olympics coverage,” said senior vice president and general manager Gary McCollum said in a statement. “Our technology allows customers to have a complete Olympics experience from the comfort of their home. The Olympics on Cox is the next best thing to being in Beijing for the Games.”