By Duncan Mackay

September 15 - Rupert Murdoch warned today that he will only sanction a multi-billion dollar bid from his company Fox to screen the 2016 Olympics if Chicago is awarded the Games.

Fox were expected to mount a bid for the United States rights to the 2014 Winter and 2016 Summer with Dan Bell, a spokesman for Fox, last week claiming "the Olympics are one of the premier sporting events in the world and we will absolutely be a part of the bidding process when the time comes".

But Murdoch claimed at a a media event in the US that News Corporation, which owns Fox, are not planning to bid for the rights because he does not believe they make money.

He said: "We haven't thought about it.

"But I wouldn't think so."

Murdoch admitted, though, he could be persuaded to change his mind if Chicago are chosen ahead of rivals Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo to host the Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at its Session in Copenhagen on October 2

He said: "[Then they] may be pretty tempting.
"But I imagine the bidding will be high.

"And in spite of all the propaganda and everything - I don't want to call anybody a liar - but no one's ever made any money out of them [the Olympics]."

Murdoch's comments are a surprise because he has aggressively pursued Olympic rights in other countries.

His companies in Italy and Turkey have already acquired the rights to screen the Olympics.

In October last year Fox Turkey brought the rights to the 2014 and 2016 Olympics while Sky Italia will be showing the next four Games, starting in Vancouver next year and including London 2012.

BSkyB in Britain are also expected to be major bidders when the rights for the 2014 and 2016 are negotiated shortly following the breakdown of talks between the IOC and the European Broadcasting Union.

NBC claimed that that they made a small profit from broadcasting last year's Olympics in Beijing but have never released official figures.

Murdoch said: "When they're [the Olympics] on, they do suck a huge amount of revenue away from everyone else - in a sort of profitless way."

NBC Universal will carry next year's Winter Games in Vancouver and the 2012 event in London.

It paid $2.2 billion (£1.3 billion) for those combined rights.

Bidding on the 2014 and 2016 Games is expected to begin sometime after the IOC chooses a site for the 2016 Summer Games.

Earlier today, NBC chief executive Jeff Zucker said his company would only continue bidding for the Olympic rights as long as they are financially viable.

He said: "We're not going to put the company in any distress to do so."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected].

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