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Broadcasting rights -- or why I can only watch the Olympics on NBC

Stashed in: Olympics!

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Disclosure: I'm friends with one of the business development leads for NBC Sports.

Can anyone help explain the history of broadcast rights?

I read through a Wikipedia entry and source articles, but it's still a fascinating concept.

More fascinating, than dare I say, copyright and trademark.

How can the broadcast rights to an event be sold? What is the origin of this practice? What are the laws surrounding broadcast? Do they only pertain to ticketed events, or are free-to-watch public events also included.

I'd love to hear more about this from knowledgeable parties.

I actually didn't mean to post this because I wanted an image; guess i accidentally published it.

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