MANILA,  August 3, 2004
Here's good news for Pinoy sports fans raring to see Filipino athletes and the US Dream Team in action in the Athens Olympics starting next week.

Unless something awry happens, action in the 2004 Olympics will be brought to the comfort of Pinoy homes by National Broadcasting Network and its partner, Jemah Television, according to an official of the government-owned station.

The official, who requested anonymity for the time being, said $225,000 needed to cover the technical cost of the satellite feed has been remitted to the Asian Broadcasting Union, the group in charge of the Olympics broadcast to Asian countries.

The ABU, for its part, has shipped a decoder, a devise the size of a VHS player, that will enable NBN to receive the signal from the satellite feed of the action in Greece.

The official, however, added NBN and Jemah Television will need to raise $600,000, or $300,000 each, by Aug. 8 to finalize the deal. The money will be sent to the International Olympic Committee to cover half of the station's $1.2 million obligation to the IOC incurred during the 2002 Sydney Olympics.

Mia Concio, NBN chairperson, is set to meet with President Arroyo today regarding the coverage of the Olympics, with NBN's half of the $600,000 expected to be on top of the agenda. Concio is among the guests in today's PSA Forum at the Manila Pavilion Hotel.

"We are optimistic the President would help us in this endeavor," said the official, who added the balance of $600,000 would be payable in 90 days.

Another $600,000 would be needed to cover the broadcast rights for the Athens Games. The official said the ABU has guaranteed this to the Olympic organizers and expects to be paid from the commercial sales of the games in the Philippines.

"We at NBN and Jemah Television will both market the games," the official said, adding most, if not all, events that will be covered by the host broadcaster will be shown on NBN.

Action in basketball, where the US Dream Team is expected to have its hands full against a host of challengers, will be seen only in the quarterfinals stage.

The official said a modest local crew will be sent to Athens but will not likely include announcers since the broadcast coming from the ABU already has an english commentary.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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