The U. S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) announced today that they have entered into an agreement to form the U.S. Olympic Network (USON), the first-ever cable television network devoted solely to the excitement, competition and values connected with the Olympic Movement.
Expected to launch in 2010, broadcasting year-round, and using multiple platforms, including television, video on demand and online, the USON will provide a window into the quests of American athletes to reach the pinnacle of their sports. Viewers will be able to watch live coverage of championship competitions and, after 2012, Olympic trial events in a wide range of sports, plus live, non-stop news reports, commentary, interviews from the locations of future Olympic and Paralympic Games, and classic Olympic footage through its exclusive U.S. access to thousands of hours of programming.
Additionally, the USON will provide video on demand content, enabling subscribers to watch their favorite Olympic athletes and their feats whenever they want. A broadband platform will also be established for Internet customers to experience the passion of the Olympic Games online with news, highlights, and event coverage. The transaction is subject to closing conditions.
"The U.S. Olympic Network will be a dream come true for fans of the Olympic Games, delivering rich year-round content associated with the world's greatest sporting competitions," said Stephanie Streeter, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the USOC. "By bringing the stories, competitions and history of the Olympic Movement into American homes year-round, the USOC hopes to not only inspire a new generation of athletes but also to educate young people about the ideals and values of the Olympic movement. And, we believe strongly that the USON can also serve as a template that can be used in other parts of the world to expand access to the Olympic experience. Plus, the USON's unparalleled year-round exposure of the Olympic brand - already one of the world's most recognized and respected - will generate compelling opportunities for Olympic sponsors to expand their association with the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement. At the same time, we believe it will enhance interest in and viewership of Olympic-related coverage on broadcast networks. We are excited to work with all of our partners, and everyone associated with the Olympic Movement, to establish the USON as the foremost full time channel for Olympic-related content."
Jeff Shell, President of Comcast Programming Group, said, "Comcast is pleased to partner with the United States Olympic Committee on the U.S. Olympic Network. Promoting the spirit of the Olympic Games in the homes of millions of Americans will support our athletes and bring more Olympic entertainment to our customers."
"We are excited to see this important development for the USOC," added Matt Van Houten, Chair, USOC Athletes' Advisory Council. "It will do great things for America's athletes by bringing them and the Olympic Movement into the public's awareness on a year-round basis, not just for a couple of weeks every two years."
USON is conceived as a network to support the public interest of furthering the Olympic Movement's international mission of promoting peace through the Games. The USOC intends to use a significant portion of its net proceeds from the network's operations to help fund the training of American athletes.
Allen & Company served as an advisor the USOC.
The USON will appeal to a broad demographic consistent with the country's strong interest in the Olympic Games. It intends to air programming that is appealing to a younger demographic interested in sports and pop culture, as well as the traditional Olympic fan base with a greater understanding and recollection of the historic significance of past Olympic Games.
USON will deliver compelling programming such as:
The USOC's major events, including those sponsored by National Governing Bodies of Olympic and Pan American sport organizations, and the exclusive rights to the U.S. Olympic Trials after 2012;
Archive-based shows utilizing thousands of hours of existing Olympic content;
Films, movies and documentaries;
Instructional programming; and
News and talk shows that feature the engaging personalities of Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls, and their quest to reach the pinnacles of their sports.
The USON, in addition to its cable and satellite presence, will integrate new media across all available platforms that will enable a strong personal connection between Team USA and Americans who will be inspired by their Olympic quest.
Expanded Opportunities for USOC Sponsors
Through a special Congressional charter, the USOC holds exclusive rights to use the words "Olympic" and "Olympiad," the Olympic rings and other Olympic imagery and phrases within the U.S. Given the positive and powerful nature of the Olympic brand, several of the world's leading companies have made significant investments to become Official USOC Sponsors and have the right to use Olympic marks.
USOC sponsors have made this investment despite the limited windows around the Olympic Games that are held for 17 days every two years. The USON will give USOC sponsors a new, 365-day-a-year opportunity to promote their association with the Olympic brand beyond this limited window. Several USOC sponsors have already expressed interest in becoming sponsors of the USON.
Media Conference Call
USOC executives will host a conference call with the media today, Wednesday, July 8 at 12:00 noon ET. The call will begin with remarks from the executives followed by a question and answer session. Journalists can access the call by dialing 1-800-299-0148 (in the U.S.) or 617-801-9711 (outside the U.S.), and utilizing the passcode 95684999. Please dial in ten minutes prior to the start of the call to ensure timely access.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (www.comcast.com) is the nation's leading provider of entertainment, information and communication products and services. With 24.1 million cable customers, 15.3 million high-speed Internet customers, and 6.8 million Comcast Digital Voice customers, Comcast is principally involved in the development, management and operation of cable systems and in the delivery of programming content.
Comcast's content networks and investments include E! Entertainment Television, Style Network, Golf Channel, VERSUS, G4, PBS KIDS Sprout, TV One, ten sports networks operated by Comcast Sports Group and Comcast Interactive Media, which develops and operates Comcast's Internet businesses, including Comcast.net (www.comcast.net). Comcast also has a majority ownership in Comcast-Spectacor, whose major holdings include the Philadelphia Flyers NHL hockey team, the Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball team and two large multipurpose arenas in Philadelphia.
About the U. S. Olympic Committee
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) (www.TeamUSA.org), one of America's premier sports organizations, is appointed by federal law as the coordinating body for all Olympic-related athletic activity in the United States. The mission of the USOC is to support United States Olympic and Paralympic athletes in achieving sustained competitive excellence and to preserve the Olympic Ideals, and thereby inspire all Americans.
The USOC is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the sole entity in the United States whose mission involves training, entering and underwriting the full expenses for the U.S. teams in the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. In addition to being the steward of the U.S. Olympic Movement, the USOC is the moving force for support of sports in the United States that are on the program of the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games.
The USOC also oversees the process by which U.S. cities seek to be selected as a Candidate City to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games, winter or summer, or the Pan American Games. In addition, the USOC approves the U.S. trial sites for the Olympic, Paralympic and Pan American Games team selections.