A LOT OF RUBLES
I thoroughly enjoyed William Oscar Johnson's intriguing account of the high-powered negotiations between the Soviet Union and the three major American television networks for the TV rights to the 1980 Olympic Games (A Contract with the Kremlin, Feb. 21). It was interesting to learn how completely the Soviets' ideological disdain for capitalism and profiteering vanishes when they are the ones who stand to make the better part of $85 million.
Now that NBC has agreed to pay this exorbitant sum on behalf of all of us who watch their programs and buy the products of their sponsors, it will take a super effort on the network's part to give us our money's worth. On the other hand, if NBC can handle the Olympics with the excellence that we have become accustomed to, thanks to the previous efforts of ABC, the price of $85 million may prove to be a bargain.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Please send copies of your Feb. 21 issue to President Jimmy Carter and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance with my compliments and bill me accordingly. The article should be required reading for anyone contemplating negotiations with the Russians.
RAYMOND C. STEUART
Lenin said the capitalists would sell the rope that would be used to hang them. He was wrong. NBC has bought it.
MARK E. MEDVETZ
Another Russian wheat deal.
Your article portrays the supposedly shrewd network executives as overeager, opportunistic, bumbling lads overstuffed with a sense of their mission and self-importance. It is time to justify the purpose and expense of such nonsense. The overpriced, political and/or big-business sham that quadrennially masquerades as the Olympic Games is nothing more than a vaudeville show from which the participants graduate to the big time. It is an unfortunate commentary on the state of our world community and its regard for the ideals of the Games.
(THE REV.) JONATHAN ALMOND
North Kingstown, R.I.
I'm afraid that 1980 will be it for the Olympics. Nobody will be able to afford the Games anymore.
I am appalled by the deplorable manner in which our television networks were treated by the Russians. It is disgusting to think that we would stoop to the sleazy Soviet demands. I admire the CBS people for their turndown of the deal when they had it for the asking. I have contempt for NBC for rushing in to grab it. May NBC lose its shirt.
TERRY N. ANDERSON
The so-called surprise winner of the 1980 Olympic television deal is in reality the loser. ABC and CBS are the victorious ones. The eventual impact of the totally unrealistic $85 million shelled out by NBC will be on the consumer, so in essence we, too, are losers.
But the Russians are the main source of my disgust. They treated the networks like dirt. I just wish our networks had had the foresight to pool their negotiating power and resources to get a realistic cost figure, to make the Russians bargain on our terms.
MARK R. WINTERS
JOHN E. MADDUX
State College, Pa.