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JAPAN TV WILL PAY A RECORD SUM FOR GAMES

SHARE JAPAN TV WILL PAY A RECORD SUM FOR GAMES

Japanese broadcasters are paying a record $37.5 million for the domestic rights to air the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, nearly three times what they spent for the rights to the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

Still, the price announced by the International Olympic Committee recently was less than the $80 million that Nagano Olympic Organizers reportedly had hoped to get.Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee officials aren't setting their expectations that high. They've budgeted just $38 million from all foreign television markets outside of Europe, including $16 million from Japan.

The chief financial officer for the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee said he doesn't expect Japanese broadcasters to pay more for the 2002 Games than they did for an Olympics in their own country. "I don't think it's realistic to expect it to go up much more than that," said Gordon Crabtree, senior vice president of finance for the committee.

Broadcast rights fees are expected to make up just under 40 percent of the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee's $800 million budget for staging the 2002 Winter Games.

Besides Japan, there are more than a dozen non-European foreign television markets expected to buy broadcast rights to the 2002 Winter Games, including Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Hong Kong. So far, only the U.S., Europe and Australia have made deals for the 2002 Winter Games, also paying record amounts.

Nagano's Olympic organizers, which already face financial problems due to Japan's economic recession, had looked to their nation's broadcasters to help boost revenues.

But even through Japan is the host of the 1998 Winter Games, it is the last major nation to settle on a price for the rights to the Nagano Olympics. The IOC held unsuccessful talks with Japanese broadcasters last December.

The deal finally was sealed last Friday by the IOC, which owns all broadcast rights to Olympic Games, with the Japan Consortium, which includes the Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) and other major commercial networks.

With the Japanese contract, TV broadcasting rights fees for the 1998 Winter Games total $511.9 million. The Nagano Organizing Committee, like Salt Lake's, receives 60 percent, with the rest going to the IOC.