NBC’s Creative Accounting

NBC is claiming it lost a boatload on the most recent Super Bowl telecast:

The GE-owned network purportedly lost $45 million on the Feb. 1 telecast, despite monster ratings and a record $206 million in ad sales. The loss contributed to a 45 percent plunge in first-quarter profit for NBC Universal, according to corporate parent GE, which released earnings yesterday.

The claim is ridiculous on its face. As the Post piece speculates, this is probably all about NBC’s trying to strike a blow against escalating rights fees. It’s a lie, but NBC is hoping it’s a useful lie. In some ways it’s appropriate, in that NFL owners–and owners in almost every professional sports league–routinely lie about their financials as a way to apply downward pressure to labor costs. They’re all losing money, they say, and that’s why greedy Player X needs to soften his contract demands. It’s an ageless refrain.

Anyhow, it’s curious how NBC gets promptly called out for its lies, and, for instance, Latrell Sprewell is roundly ridiculed for his “feed my family” remark. But when your local grandfatherly sports team owner shrugs and shows you the linings of his empty pockets, the media is mostly sympathetic and unquestioning.

(HT: With Leather)

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1 Comment

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One response to “NBC’s Creative Accounting

  1. grumpy3b

    careful there Dayn….”The Network” is ALWAYS watching. One wrong comment and you might find yourself manning the Cricket Watch desk in Bangledesh… ;)

    btw…you are right, it is all about making things look as bad as possible in an attempt to try to stem the tide of the amount they pay to the NFL to televise the game in whatever markets for which they buy the rights.

    Nobody at NBC is missing any means or going without medical care as a result of the “paper loss”.

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