$820M bet on Winter Olympics might pay off for NBC

Olympic TV is inherently risky.
Networks can pay Olympic TV rights fees so far in advance —NBC plunked down $820 million for the Vancouver Games in 2003 — only psychics could be confident if it will pay off. And unlike networks carrying sports with seasons that last months, Olympic TV ultimately boils down to two high-stakes weeks.

So far, NBC is on a wild ride in Vancouver.

First, mediagenic skier Lindsey Vonn suggested a shin bruise would keep her from competing. Then, slushy weather postponed what would have been marquee NBC action — Alpine skiing — which, in turn, gives Vonn more time to recover and possibly pop up as a ratings-grabber.