CNN to broadcast Olympics from shed on top of bar

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The Independent Online
A tiny bar overlooking the Olympic Stadium is set to become the world's most famous watering hole over the next few weeks - as a result of one of the most unusual deals struck in television history.

Pauly's Bar is little larger than a garden shed. But it is to become home to CNN for what is described as "exclusive Olympic coverage". And CNN will not have to pay a single dollar for the privilege.

The worldwide broadcasting network - smarting over the loss of the coverage of the games - has pulled off a coup by arranging live coverage of the stadium from a specially constructed platform twenty feet above the roof of Pauly's Bar. From the platform, CNN will have an uninterrupted view of events inside the stadium.

The vantage point, more than 100 feet above the stadium walls, has angered CNN's American rivals NBC who paid nearly $500m (pounds 325m) for exclusive coverage of the games in Atlanta - the city where CNN has its headquarters. But furious NBC chiefs will be unable to block the CNN camera which is set to broadcast liveevents to 197 countries.

The broadcasting coup was arranged in a deal between CNN and Paul D'Agnese, owner of the bar. It was less than four months ago that CNN - desperate to find good camera points outside the stadium - spotted the bar's potential.

"We decided to go for it," Mr D'Agnese said, "and agreed a deal with CNN using the roof for live broadcasts for no charge." Just one catch: CNN will always have to announce the dateline that they are broadcasting live from the roof of Pauly's Bar overlooking the Olympic Stadium.

Mr D'Agnese is straightforward about the commercial logic: "It was an opportunity to get free worldwide publicity the like of which money could not buy."

Meanwhile, he has not sold himself short in financial terms. Mr D'Agnese reckons his profits from the Olympics will "exceed one million dollars".