CANOC secures rights for Rio 2016 Olympics
Andre Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
In a landmark move, the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) has secured the regional broadcast rights for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The regional Olympic bodies, at a press briefing at The Jamaica Pegasus yesterday, announced some of the details of the historic deal, which was secured with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and will be produced and executed by global broadcasting powerhouse ESPN.
By way of the deal, CANOC, through the recently formed CANOC Broadcasting Incorporated (CBI), will manage the feed that will be served through ESPN to 33 regional territories, including Jamaica, with some 200 hours of live Caribbean-focused coverage guaranteed.
Larry Romany, the CBI's CEO, also made it clear that the feed will be provided to all regional media outlets free of cost. But there was some concern for local broadcasters as the new model is expected to significantly reduce their ability to engage local advertisers during the broadcasting of the showpiece event.
Still, the National Olympic Committee (NOC) bosses believe that there is a lot to be gained through the new arrangement, which will see 100 per cent of profits streamlined to the regional NOCs.
"This is a very overwhelming moment for the Olympic Movement in the Caribbean," said Romany. "Every single cent that we make here will go back to supporting athletes. What we are doing here today is going to be the biggest thing that we can do for Olympic sport in the Caribbean.
"Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados have been very fortunate in that we have a corporate sector that support sports. But for countries like the British Virgin Islands, St Kitts and Nevis - small communities that don't have large corporate sectors - the only access to large funding that they have is broadcast funding," Romany added.
ESPN's director of programming, Scott McGlone, is also looking forward to bringing his company's know-how to the table as they look to highlight the stories around the region's talents.
"This agreement offers us a tremendous opportunity to help CBI serve sports fans across the region in 33 different islands. The Olympic Games are the pinnacle of the sporting events around the world. We plan to bring all our expertise and experience to bear in our coverage of Rio 2016," said McGlone.
"For too long, member NOCs have yearned to better control the television coverage at an Olympic Games," said CANOC/CBI chairman, Steve Stoute. "For too long, others have benefited from our skills, talents and capabilities, resulting in missed opportunities for us. But on this occasion, we are leveraging that to the advantage of our athletes and Caribbean people everywhere."
The initiative was also welcomed by Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) boss, Mike Fennell.
"This initiative by CANOC is one that breaks new ground in the Olympic Movement. It's the first time that Olympic Committees have been entrusted with the rights for their region," Fennell said.