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NBC Paid $1.2 Billion to Broadcast the London Olympics. Where Does That Money Go?

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Dave Hogan/NBC

NBC paid the International Olympic Committee a record $1.18 billion for the U.S. broadcast rights to the 2012 London Games and $4.38 billion for the four Olympics from 2014-2020. What does the IOC do with all that cash?

According to the IOC’s Olympic Marketing Fact File:

The IOC distributes over 90% of Olympic marketing revenue to organizations throughout the Olympic Movement, in order to support the staging of the Olympic Games and to promote the worldwide development of sport. The IOC retains under 10% of Olympic marketing revenue for the operational and administrative costs of governing the Olympic Movement.
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Broadcast rights—particularly U.S. broadcast rights—are the main source of the IOC’s Olympic marketing revenues, which also include money from top-tier sponsorships, ticketing and licensing. From 2005-2008, broadcast rights provided the IOC with $2.57 billion—nearly half of its total revenues—and roughly 60% of that total came from NBC. In large part thanks to the escalating cost of broadcast rights, IOC President Jacques Rogge announced last week that the IOC’s reserves have grown from $105M to $558M since 2001.
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From 1958-1966, the IOC could retain all of its TV rights revenue. From 1966-1971, it pocketed the first $1 million and divided the remainder in equal thirds among the IOC, National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs). A few other formulas have been used, but today the IOC distributes 49% of TV rights revenues to the local organizing committee and 51% “throughout the Olympic Family to support the Olympic Movement worldwide.”
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The Olympic marketing revenue that the IOC doles out is not distributed perfectly evenly among the 205 NOCs, 32 IFs, and organizing committees. Under the terms of a deal that dates back to 1996, the United States Olympic Committee has been guaranteed 12.75% of the U.S. broadcast revenue and 20% of the IOC’s global sponsorship revenue. As TV rights and sponsorship revenues grew, the IOC soured on the deal and argued the USOC was receiving too much of the pie.
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A new deal, which will take effect in 2020, was reached in May. Under the terms of the agreement, the USOC’s TV rights share will be reduced to 7% and its sponsorship revenue will be reduced to 10%.

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Big Questions
Why Do Cats Freak Out After Pooping?
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Cats often exhibit some very peculiar behavior, from getting into deadly combat situations with their own tail to pouncing on unsuspecting humans. Among their most curious habits: running from their litter box like a greyhound after moving their bowels. Are they running from their own fecal matter? Has waste elimination prompted a sense of euphoria?

Experts—if anyone is said to qualify as an expert in post-poop moods—aren’t exactly sure, but they’ve presented a number of entertaining theories. From a biological standpoint, some animal behaviorists suspect that a cat bolting after a deposit might stem from fears that a predator could track them based on the smell of their waste. But researchers are quick to note that they haven’t observed cats run from their BMs in the wild.

Biology also has a little bit to do with another theory, which postulates that cats used to getting their rear ends licked by their mother after defecating as kittens are showing off their independence by sprinting away, their butts having taken on self-cleaning properties in adulthood.

Not convinced? You might find another idea more plausible: Both humans and cats have a vagus nerve running from their brain stem. In both species, the nerve can be stimulated by defecation, leading to a pleasurable sensation and what some have labeled “poo-phoria,” or post-poop elation. In running, the cat may simply be working off excess energy brought on by stimulation of the nerve.

Less interesting is the notion that notoriously hygienic cats may simply want to shake off excess litter or fecal matter by running a 100-meter dash, or that a digestive problem has led to some discomfort they’re attempting to flee from. The fact is, so little research has been done in the field of pooping cat mania that there’s no universally accepted answer. Like so much of what makes cats tick, a definitive motivation will have to remain a mystery.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Big Questions
Why Do Baseball Managers Wear Uniforms?
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Basketball and hockey coaches wear business suits on the sidelines. Football coaches wear team-branded shirts and jackets and often ill-fitting pleated khakis. Why are baseball managers the only guys who wear the same outfit as their players?

According to John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball since 2011, it goes back to the earliest days of the game. Back then, the person known as the manager was the business manager: the guy who kept the books in order and the road trips on schedule. Meanwhile, the guy we call the manager today, the one who arranges the roster and decides when to pull a pitcher, was known as the captain. In addition to managing the team on the field, he was usually also on the team as a player. For many years, the “manager” wore a player’s uniform simply because he was a player. There were also a few captains who didn’t play for the team and stuck to making decisions in the dugout, and they usually wore suits.

With the passing of time, it became less common for the captain to play, and on most teams they took on strictly managerial roles. Instead of suits proliferating throughout America’s dugouts, though, non-playing captains largely hung on to the tradition of wearing a player's uniform. By the early to mid 20th century, wearing the uniform was the norm for managers, with a few notable exceptions. The Philadelphia Athletics’s Connie Mack and the Brooklyn Dodgers’s Burt Shotton continued to wear suits and ties to games long after it fell out of favor (though Shotton sometimes liked to layer a team jacket on top of his street clothes). Once those two retired, it’s been uniforms as far as the eye can see.

The adherence to the uniform among managers in the second half of the 20th century leads some people to think that MLB mandates it, but a look through the official major league rules [PDF] doesn’t turn up much on a manager’s dress. Rule 1.11(a) (1) says that “All players on a team shall wear uniforms identical in color, trim and style, and all players’ uniforms shall include minimal six-inch numbers on their backs" and rule 2.00 states that a coach is a "team member in uniform appointed by the manager to perform such duties as the manager may designate, such as but not limited to acting as base coach."

While Rule 2.00 gives a rundown of the manager’s role and some rules that apply to them, it doesn’t specify that they’re uniformed. Further down, Rule 3.15 says that "No person shall be allowed on the playing field during a game except players and coaches in uniform, managers, news photographers authorized by the home team, umpires, officers of the law in uniform and watchmen or other employees of the home club." Again, nothing about the managers being uniformed.

All that said, Rule 2.00 defines the bench or dugout as “the seating facilities reserved for players, substitutes and other team members in uniform when they are not actively engaged on the playing field," and makes no exceptions for managers or anyone else. While the managers’ duds are never addressed anywhere else, this definition does seem to necessitate, in a roundabout way, that managers wear a uniform—at least if they want to have access to the dugout. And, really, where else would they sit?

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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