Television networks paid more than $5 million US for exclusive rights to show events surrounding President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration.

That includes yesterday’s Lincoln Memorial concert and the Neighbourhood Ball where Beyoncé will serenade the new first couple. Nearly half the money, $2.5 million, will be paid by HBO.

The cable network broadcast yesterday’s concert — featuring U2, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder and others — live.

Obama’s inaugural committee said the Walt Disney Co. is paying $2 million to show tomorrow’s Neighbourhood Ball on ABC and for a kids’ concert today on The Disney Channel.

MTV is paying $650,000 for a Youth Ball that will be shown worldwide.

“The whole idea here is for millions and millions of people to be a part of this and open it up and be accessible,” said Jim Margolis, who is helping to put the events together for Obama’s team.

“And the way to do that is to put it on television.”

The networks will pay the licensing fee to the production company RK Denver, not the inaugural committee.

Margolis said it would cover a third of the cost of the television productions, with the inaugural committee covering the rest. Participating artists are performing for free.

Besides Beyoncé’s serenade of Barack and Michelle Obama’s first dance of the night, the centrepiece Neighbourhood Ball will include entertainment from Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Shakira, Sting, Faith Hill and Maroon 5.

The press pool will be allowed to cover Obama’s remarks and the first dance, otherwise the event is all ABC’s.