The rings and the small screen
To understand how the scorpion wars of Calgary and the general frenzy surrounding modern TV rights came about you need to rewind to the first recorded transmission of the Olympic Games. This was at the 1932 Los Angeles Games, when NBC radio broadcast short late-evening news summaries of the day’s events. Even then there were concerns. The Los Angeles organizers worried that radio broadcasts would impact on their primary source of revenue - ticket sales.
Four years later, the organizers of the 1936 Berlin Games introduced the medium of television to the Olympics, with 138 hours of coverage of some 175 events. This was perhaps the first and only time that television audience ratings would be totally accurate ...