NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus has admitted that while they "don't know the results yet....we don't necessarily expect that this [2012 London Olympics] will be profitable."
Lazarus made the comments Wednesday during a press conference on the 2012 London Olympics coverage.
Outside analysts have long predicted that NBCUniversal would have a tough time recouping the $1.18 billion for the 2012 London games. David Joyce, a media analyst with Miller Tabak + Co., has predicted loses at around $100 million for the London Games. NBC lost about $223 million loss on the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.
Lazarus also stressed, however, sales "were very strong" and that the financial prospects for the 2012 London Olympics have "improved" since they first put together their business plan.
He also stressed that they continued to invest in producing the games: "We are very optimistic, we are not pulling any resources. We are prudent in how we spend money but we are not altering our plans. In fact I think we have probably had the luxury to invest more."
Looking forward, Lazarus noted that they were "confident" that their deal for the four upcoming Olympics games through 2020 would be "a profitable deal when the final scores come in." That deal has been valued at about $4.4 billion.
NBC executives also noted that they had increased the amount of live streaming content to a record 3,500 hours because past events has shown that making more content available online had not cannibalized primetime audience. In fact, more content had increased interest in the games.
Separately, NBCU announced that it had launched a site where multichannel subscribers could authenticate their subscriptions, which would give them access to the 3,500-plus hours the company plans to stream during the games. The move is designed to help users get an early start that could avoid last-minute problems in accessing the content.
Users can authenticate their subscriptions at NBC Olympics Live Extra, the home of Olympic live stream content at NBCOlympics.com. The company is expecting the launch NBC Olympic Live Extra apps in mid-July that will give subscribers access to content on their tablets and smartphones.
Andrea Morabito contributed to this report