The National Broadcasting Company must be wondering how much trouble it bought for $100 million-plus it is paying to telecast the 1980 Olympic Games from Moscow.
In a month of deteriorating U.S.-Soviet relations, there was at least a momentary, collective sigh of relief among NBC executives when President Carter at his news conference Thursday night was asked whether he agreed with critics of the Soviet Union calling for a boycott of the Olympics by the United States.
Carter said it was up to the U.S. Olympic Committee to make the decision and added that he hopes the games will go on.
Nevertheless, Rep. Jack Kemp (B-N.Y.) submitted a prepared statement to Congress Friday in which he said he and Democratic Sen. Wendell R. Anderson of Minnisota were calling for the shift of the games from Moscow.
Kemp, former San Diego and Buffalo quarterback, said he already had 21 cosponsors in the House.
Anderson, a member of the U.S. hockey team that won a silver medal in the 1956 Olympics, sad he had eight cosponsors in the Senate.
Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.) has written a letter to Lord Micheal Killanin, president of the International Olympic Committee, urging that the Olympics be removed from Moscow in light of Soviet Union's treatment of dissidents.
Rep. Robert F. Drinan (D-Mass) has recommended to the U.S. Olympic Committee that it ask the international committee remove the games from Mowcow, or failing that to consider withdrawal by the United States and setting up alternative competition.
Under international Olympic rules, however, the United States could be thrown out of the Olympics if Congress directs the U.S. Olympic Committee to take such action. Govenmental Interference with national Olympic committees is forbidden.
"We in fact could be accused of infusing politics into the Olympic movement," said F. Don Miller, executive director of the USOC. "What's so tragic is that the whole Olympic movement stands for human rights.
"It appears ill-advised to suggest the United States become a catalyst for political actions to withdraw or not send athletes because the whole purposes of the Olympics is to develop amnesty and good will."
Kemp, recalling that there have been previous resolutions in Congress urging a boycott of the Olympics in Moscow, said he prefers moving the competition to Montreal, site of the 1976 games.
Kemp took note of what he called the financial "disaster" Montreal suffered in putting on the competition, reportedly resulting in a deflict of about $1 billion. He attributed much of it to capital costs, but pointed out that the facilitles are still in good shape and that the city would benefit from new operating revenues.
"I understand the Soviet Union has undertaken substantial costs already, Kemp said, "but I think they have forfeited their right to retain the games.
"I realize that some American businesses have sunk cost into their activities in association with those games, most notably NBC. But the bulk of the network's $80 million outlay has not yet been made. Perhaps the loss, whatever it is, could be ameliorated if NBC had the principal or a major share of the action in Montreal."
Pointing out that he has not abandoned consideration of a U.S. boycott of the Olympics in Moscow, Kemp said, "If a boycott starts now, with countries making it known they will not go (to Moscow), the cumulative effect may be to make it known the games cannot continue in Moscow."
Don Ohlmeyer, executive producer at NBC who helped arrange the telecast of the Montreal Olympics when he was with ABC, says "If a boycott was successful it would be the end of the Olympic movement."
He acknowledged that there has been criticism in the press about the games' being held in Moscow ever since the announcement the competition would be there.
Ohlmeyer ridiculed some of the actions taken by persons opposed to the Olympics in Moscow. He cited a report of quotation's by Gov. Hugh Carey calling for a boycott of the competition in Moscow but wanting the 1984 Games in New York City.
"He can't have both ways," Ohlemyer said.
As to NBC's investment, Ohlmeyer said, "I know some payments to the Soviets already have been paid, but there is financial recourse if the United States does not participate, or if there are no Games."
He said he did not know how much had been paid but when NBC representatives testified before Congress about whether the network might be tricked into becoming a propaganda instrument for the Soviet Union, NBC had noted in a prepared statement if would have to pay about 40 percent of $50 million for the supply of production facilities, in 1977 and 1978.
Alan Baker, vice president for cooporate information at NBC, was asked if the network had been receiving pressure not to telecast the game from Moscow.
He said that on Tuesday "what I categorized as an extremist Jewish group threw red paint all over our entry at Rockefeller Plaza." He said the group identified itself as Jewish.
Baker said in response to a question that the network already had sold about 80 percent of the commercial time at an average of about $75000, a half-minute during 150 hours of air time air time.