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NBC Sports Chairman Says Chance to Make Olympics Profit

NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus said he sees a “small chance” for a profit on the media company’s coverage of the London Olympics because of larger TV audiences and higher-than-projected advertising sales.

“We could make a little bit of money,” Lazarus said during an Olympics media conference today. “We’ll know over the next couple of weeks.”

The network’s TV audience has exceeded that of the Beijing games four years ago over six nights so far, Lazarus said. That has allowed NBC to charge more than expected for additional advertising time the New York-based company is making available, he said. The network initially projected a $200 million loss.

NBC Universal Chief Executive Officer Steve Burke said yesterday he expects to be “right around” break even.

The TV, film and amusement-park company expects about $1.2 billion in total revenue from the Olympics, Brian Roberts, CEO of parent Comcast Corp., said on July 27. NBC Universal paid about $1.18 billion for TV rights to the Olympics. The company is spending about $100 million on production, David Joyce, an analyst at Miller Tabak & Co. in New York, estimated previously.

Comcast, based in Philadelphia, gained 1.7 percent to $34.12 at the close in New York. The stock has risen 44 percent this year, ranking first among the 16 companies in the S&P 500 Media Index.

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