Thomas Bach is celebrating his anniversary as IOC President this week, and it's been a busy first year for him. Which, I suppose, should be the expectation given the role and the scope of responsibilities, events, and goals the IOC has over even just a single year. There's been the Sochi Games, with the sociopolitical controversy there; the construction delay discussion for Rio 2016, and the just finished Youth Olympics - all on top of whatever reforms Bach wants to make to an organization that is famously slow, old and bureaucratic. One item that struck my eye was his goal of a dedicated 'Olympic channel' for year-round digital coverage of Olympic news and sports. As a fan, I'm all for it - sign me up for a subscription now. And, I certainly respect the goal - showcasing Olympic sports, particularly lesser known ones, during off-years to keep the educational and historical mission fresh and relevant - not to mention trying to secure some revenue out of it. But I just can't imagine this being an easy project. While it likely has a vast archival library of events, The IOC only has rights to Olympic events, and the vast majority of events this channel will cover aren't immediately theirs. Some sports have their own media distribution deals - I imagine FIBA isn't looking to share any rights or revenue with the IOC over its World Cup. Also, there are some channels out there already trying to do the good work, particularly on an event-focus - Universal Sports Network, for example - but have yet to see substantial revenue or audience success. And, speaking of Universal, how does the concept of an IOC-run Olympic media organization complement the efforts of NBC, which has paid more than $8 billion for TV coverage, and other existing broadcast rights holders? I imagine that there has been, and will be, continuing discussions on symbiotic content plans and development. I am taken back to 2009, when the USOC and Comcast unveiled thoughts for a similar channel of their own - and the IOC quickly stamped that out. That smells like this future was in mind. Nevertheless, I'm eager to see - and watch - what develops.
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At Rio 2016's Barra Olympic Park
Header: Kallimamaro stadium in Athens, site of the first modern Olympics in 1896