ABC-TV has been awarded broadcast rights to the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.
According to industry sources, ABC which had already won the rights to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, will pay between $80 and $90 million for the television rights to the Sarajevo Olympics.
ABC won the rights to the 1984 Summer Games with a bid of $225 million.
Olympic coverage has been a major part of ABC's advance to the No. 1 spot in network ratings. ABC has televised the Winter Games in 1964, 1968 and 1972 and will televise the Winter Games from Lake Placid this year. It also has broadcast the Summer Games in 1968, 1972 and 1976, while NBC won the rights to the Games scheduled this summer in Moscow.
ABC's competition in the bidding came from CBS. NBC dropped out of the bidding Wednesday, after being turned down in its request for a 60-day moratorium because of unsettled world conditions.
The agreement giving ABC exclusive rights to U.S. coverage was announced by Roone Arledge, president of ABC Sports and the man behind the network's past Olympic coverage, and Ahmed Karabegovic, general secretary of the Sarajevo Olympic Organizing Committee. The agreement is subject to approval by the International Olympic Committee.
ABC paid $25 million for the Lake Placid Olympics, less than one-third of the reported price for the 1984 games. NBC is paying $87 million for the Moscow Olympic rights, but the network may lose out if the threatened U.S. boycott materializes.
ABC which will televise more than 50 hours of the Lake Placid Games beginning Feb. 12, plans to televise more than 60 hours from Sarajevo, most of it in prime time.
Because the broadcast rights are so expensive, advertising prices for the 1984 Games, both winter and summer, are expected to be staggering. Sources reported yesterday that ABC has already begun contacting advertising agencies about sponsorship of the Games even though they are still more than four years off.
ABC will have televised nine Olympics when the Los Angeles Olympics conclude, five winter and four summer.