Fewer Russians Could Be a Windfall for U.S. Olympic Business

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Mark Lazarus, the chairman of NBC Broadcasting and NBC Sports, said, “There is no doubt that our audience likes to see Americans performing well.” Chris Haston/NBC Sports

In the wake of Tuesday’s International Olympic Committee decision to ban the Russian team from the Winter Games in South Korea in February, many assumed companies that have invested in the Games would take a serious financial hit.

But the removal of the United States’ biggest rival just nine weeks ahead of the Pyeongchang Olympics might actually help the Games commercially, especially in the United States.

A yet-to-be-determined number of Russian athletes will be allowed to compete as neutral individuals, if they can convince antidoping experts that they are clean. Many Russians are likely to be absent, though, and that will make Americans more competitive and more likely to win medals. Over the years, that has been the essential ingredient for a highly watched and financially successful Olympics on this side of the pond, according to Olympics insiders and experts with decades of experience in the art of selling the Games.

“There is no doubt that our audience likes to see Americans performing well,” said Mark Lazarus, the chairman of NBC Broadcasting and NBC Sports, which will televise the Olympics in the United States.

Source: The New York Times