The International Olympic Committee suspended negotiations with the three major U.S. television networks today and gave them until Sept. 23 to submit higher bids for exclusive broadcasting rights to the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Canada’s Richard Pound, chairman of the IOC’s television negotiating committee, told a news conference at the end of two days of fruitless talks with the networks and the Seoul organizers that none of the bids submitted by the networks was acceptable “at this stage.”
IOC sources said ABC, CBS and NBC all made bids of about $300 million, well below the $700 million the Koreans expected.
“We have not yet received an offer we can accept at this stage and so we have given the networks a further 10 days to reconsider their offers and submit new ones,” Pound said.
He denied that the real stumbling block during the negotiations was whether the finals of the most attractive events could be brought forward to coincide with peak viewing times in the United States.
“The networks were given a schedule and told to negotiate on that basis,” said Pound, who is Canadian.
He insisted that money, not the timetable, was the problem.
IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch said the IOC “can wait until Christmas” to settle the U.S. TV rights issues.