There's no disputing the fact that NBC has made a fucking mint broadcasting these Olympics. They even used their clout to ensure Michael Phelps could be shown live in US prime time, and reaped millions while speeding up the Phelps backlash. But they have pissed off some serious sports fans by often relying on replays over live events, and announcing marginal Beijing events from Midtown NYC. So now ESPN is considering sneaking in and jacking the future Olympic broadcast rights, to bring you archery and steeplechase freaks every second, live! ESPN is considering a bid with ABC for the 2014 and 2016 games, and promises to "carry more of them live, regardless of the time zone, than NBC traditionally has done." They liken it to their World Cup coverage, where morning broadcasts of games results in bleary-eyed drunk fans stumbling out of Irish bars at 7:30 a.m. Um, yay. So why didn't ESPN and ABC get the games this time around?

In 2003, the Disney-owned ESPN and ABC bid jointly for the 2010 and 2012 Games against Fox and NBC. NBC won the bidding at $2.2 billion, which included a worldwide I.O.C. sponsorship for General Electric, NBC's parent company. Fox bid an estimated $1.3 billion and ESPN/ABC offered a revenue share, without any upfront money.

There's your problem: not bidding any money for them. NBC is crafty! [NYT; pic via Savatoons]