The International Olympic Committee sold the United State Olympic TV rights for the 2010 and 2012 games to NBC for $2.2 billion. That’s 22 times as much as the IOC charges China. And almost three times as much as it charges the 45 countries of Europe combined. Per person, that works out to the U.S. paying 7.5 times as much to show the Games to each viewer as the Europeans and 95 times as much as the Chinese.

The International Olympic Committee sold the United State Olympic TV rights for the 2010 and 2012 games to NBC for $2.2 billion. That’s 22 times as much as the IOC charges China. And almost three times as much as it charges the 45 countries of Europe combined. Per person, that works out to the U.S. paying 7.5 times as much to show the Games to each viewer as the Europeans and 95 times as much as the Chinese.

So the IOC takes our money, forbids the USOC from starting its own television network centered around Americans trying to qualify for the Olympics, calls a personal visit from our President and first lady “a lack of respect” because they only stay five hours and kick Chicago out in last place, four years after an early dismissal of New York.

Quick Shots says pull the money. U.S. TV networks often lose money on the Olympics anyway. McDonald’s, G.E., Coca-Cola, Visa, Kodak, Panasonic and Johnson & Johnson provide the bulk of the IOC’s global sponsorship money. Pull that too. If the IOC is going to kick the U.S. around, let’s see them do it without U.S. dollars.

NHL errs with games in Europe
Baseball is big enough to share opening day with the Final Four every year, but hockey isn’t baseball. It’s bad enough that the NHL opened on the day the 2016 Olympic host city was announced, but putting the Blackhawks, who have finally rekindled a following in Chicago, in Finland to play the Panthers was flat-out daffy. They didn’t even hog the international stage, as the Blues opened against the Red Wings in Sweden. Playing overseas is supposed to be a spectacle. These games just made hockey even more invisible.

Cubs not bad, just mediocre
Sometimes it’s not what you do; it’s what you were expected to do. The Cubs will post a winning record for the third consecutive season for only the second time in 70 years, yet are viewed by most fans and critics as a disaster. The Cubs didn’t come close to meeting expectations, but don’t need a lot of changes to contend again next year. Even in this awful year, they could win as many games as the 2006 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Peavy brings Sox hope in 2010
This is why the White Sox didn’t shut down Jake Peavy. Going 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA and ending the season with 15 shutout innings against division-leading Detroit in a pennant race should greatly lessen doubts whether he could handle the American League. It should sell tickets and provide hope all winter. For all their sorry play, the Sox should have one of the best pitching rotations in the league with Peavy, Mark Buehrle, John Danks and Gavin Floyd. If Carlos Quentin returns to health, the Sox could go young and still be AL Central favorites.

Bears’ schedule toughens up
Whatever happened to the Bears having the NFL’s easiest schedule? Eight of their final 12 games are against teams with current winning records, and one of those four losing teams is defending NFC champion Arizona.

Assistant sports editor Matt Trowbridge’s Quick Shots on Sports appear Sundays. He can be reached at 815-987-1383 or mtrowbridge@rrstar.com.