McDonaldization of Olympics
764 words 11 July 2012 Deccan Chronicle DECCLE English © Copyright 2012. Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd.
In major deviation from Olympic convention, the finals of all swimming events were staged in morning at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Reason: American television network NBC wanted to broadcast the events in prime time in the States. Even the Olympic movement isn’t exempt from the US influence. The biological clock of top swimmers was not set for morning finals in major competitions but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was more concerned about keeping NBC happy than putting its stars through hardship or depriving Beijing of some evening fireworks in the pool. The IOC’s decision was dictated by money, as half of its budget came from the sale of broadcasting rights to NBC. When NBC wanted the swimming schedule advanced from the traditional evening time to morning to suit its audience, the IOC had no option other than acceding to the demands of the US broadcasting giant. Without the money it garnered from NBC, the IOC would have struggled to stay in sound financial health. NBC alone has paid $2 billion for the broadcasting rights of the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2012 Summer Olympics. The amount is more than 50% of IOC’s total TV revenue for the two events. NBC has bought the US media rights for four Olympics from 2014 to 2020 for $4.38 billion. Some people may rile against the commercialization or Americanization of the Olympics but figures show that the dollars from the US is critical for the sustenance of the Olympic movement. Besides TV, the IOC’s another major stream of income is private partnership. For the 2012 London Olympics, the IOC has collected $957 million from 11 private companies — most of them are from the US. Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Visa are some of the prominent partners of the IOC. Peter Ueberroth, the mastermind behind the path-breaking success of the 1984 Los Angeles Games,...