CBC, Bell dissolve Olympic partnership

CBC/Radio-Canada and Bell Media announced Monday they will no longer submit joint bids for the Canadian media rights for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics.

The organizations had previously submitted two joint bids for the package, but both were rejected by the International Olympic Committee.

"We presented not one, but two fiscally responsible bids that are reflective of the Canadian marketplace," Phil King, the president of CTV Programming and Sports, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, we were not able to reach agreement on terms with the IOC."

Jeffrey Orridge, the executive director of CBC Sports Properties, told CBCSports.ca that the impasse with the IOC prompted the dissolution of the CBC-Bell partnership, which was formed in September of last year.

"We felt that the approach we were taking was not yielding the intended result," Orridge said "So we decided that we would be better off just dissolving the joint partnership."

Orridge said the CBC would now "take some time to assess what our options are" before deciding whether to continue with the bidding process.

Those options could include submitting a solo bid or pursuing a different bidding partner.

"This organization is committed to bringing the most entertaining, exciting and nation-building sports experiences to the Canadian public. Within that context, marquee events that showcase Canada and Canadian athletes in an international forum are certainly the types of things that we feel are important.

"We specialize in doing big events and doing them exceptionally well."

Orridge said the IOC hasn't suggested a deadline for awarding the Canadian rights for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics.

The IOC could elect to not award the rights to any Canadian media outlet, potentially leaving the country without a domestic broadcaster for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In some African and Asian countries that don't have a domestic broadcast rights holder for this summer's London Olympics, the IOC is making live action available to viewers through its YouTube channel.

Bell Media and Rogers Communications partnered up for the winning bid on the 2010 (Vancouver) and 2012 (London) Olympics, spending a reported $153 million that reportedly resulted in significant losses.

Rogers said last fall that it will not pursue the next Olympic rights package.

The last time CBC held Olympic broadcast rights was for the 2008 Games in Beijing.