NBC is reporting that they lost money airing Super Bowl XLIII, to the tune of $45 million. And if you believe that, I know of a bridge overlooking some swampland in Florida that you might be interested in. Here’s the official company line:
The loss contributed to a 45 percent plunge in first-quarter profit for NBC Universal, according to corporate parent GE, which released earnings yesterday.
It’s no secret the broadcast networks lose money on their football deals because of the huge rights fees the NFL extracts. TV execs consider football a loss leader that brings in a reliable flow of viewers.
Poppycock, I say. If only someone else quoted in this same article shared my dissenting opinion…
“In the last 20 years, I don’t recall a broadcaster releasing a profit-and-loss statement for the Super Bowl,” said Neal Pilson, a former president of CBS Sports and the head of Pilson Communications, a sports consulting firm.
Some industry insiders wondered if GE singled out the Super Bowl in its earnings to send a message about steep rights fees, especially in such a severe ad downturn.
The loss was only one of the contributors to a loss of almost $2 billion in profits for parent company NBC Universal. And the obvious answer is to blame Matt Millen. Millen, you’ll remember, joined the NBC’s studio show in January. Which means that, during his tenure with NBC, Millen has cost NBC about $600 million in profits per month. Hey, the numbers don’t lie.