For television giant NBC Universal, the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, is shaping up to be a bumpy downhill ride.
The network, weighed down by overpaying for rights fees, expects to lose at least $250 million on its coverage of the Games that begin Friday night. Sluggish ad sales — at least initially — helped dig NBC deeper into the financial hole. On top of that, there are few star U.S. athletes to whip up excitement. And on Wednesday, the top U.S. female skier, Lindsey Vonn, revealed that she bruised her shin during practice last week and might not be able to compete.
Then there’s the weather. British Columbia’s unseasonably warm temperatures have melted snow and increased the chances of competition-halting fog on Cypress Mountain. Organizers have been trucking in powder from hundreds of miles away.