ABC has offered about $750 million for the U.S. television rights to the 1988 Seoul Olympics, provided the schedule is adjusted to suit peak viewing times in the United States, Reuter reported yesterday from Italy, quoting Italian track and field sources.
ABC would require the major track and field finals to be staged in the morning, rather than in the traditional afternoon slots. The sources said the network had made an alternative offer of $250 million for U.S. rights if the events are run at the usual time.
In New York, ABC said the report was "totally without foundation."
The Seoul Olympic Organizing Committee, eager to obtain maximum revenue from the sale of U.S. television rights, has submitted a formal request to the International Amateur Athletic Federation for track and field finals to be held in the morning. Morning events in Seoul, which is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, could be shown live on late-night television in the United States.
ABC paid $225 million for rights to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
The issue of whether even to hold the Olympics in Seoul has been debated recently, with various Soviet officials criticizing the location. But in an interview published yesterday in Rome, International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch said, "We will go to Seoul just as we went to Moscow and Los Angeles."