They broke even. Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group, announced tonight that NBC, somehow, didn't make any money off the Olympics. Well, we shouldn't say somehow. They didn't make anything off the Olympics because they paid way too much for them.
NBC paid $1.18 billion just for the London 2012 broadcast rights. That's just the transaction that says, "Yup, here you go. Take the keys to the broadcast machine." That number doesn't include production, promotion, transporting your staff to another country, the legal fees that accompany international travel, etc. The Olympics are expensive stuff.
But there was some hope when the Games first began. Ratings were great. Despite the unexpectedly high $1 billion in ad sales, they still couldn't burst into the green. They learned they weren't going to lost $200 million, which provided some hope for cash. They announced these Olympics were the most watched event in U.S. TV history. 219.4 million people watched the Olympics. There was hope then, too. Lazarus told Bloomberg there was a chance they would turn a profit, but alas. You get what you pay for.