By Barry Janoff
March 29, 2016: The Olympic Games is about competing for yourself, your team and your nation and, ultimately winning a gold medal.
NBC is eying a gold medal in advertising.
The official network of the Olympics said it has passed $1 billion in national ad sales for its coverage of the 2016 Games Rio de Janeiro and that on-going sales are on pace to become the "most national advertising sales ever for an Olympic Games and the most by any network for any media event in U.S. history."
According to NBC, the $1 billion — which includes national broadcast, cable and digital sales — comes about four months earlier than when it was achieved for the 2012 London Olympics.
NBC said it reached that on July 25, 2012, just two days prior to London’s Opening Ceremony.
The Opening Ceremony for the 2016 Rio Olympics is Aug. 5.
“The market is very healthy and bullish on the Olympics as evidenced by the fact that we’ve surpassed the $1 billion mark four months ahead of London," Seth Winter, evp-advertising sales for NBC Sports Group, said in a statement. "Advertisers know that integrating their brands in front of Olympic viewers is good for their businesses. We continue to expect to set the Olympic record for national ad sales.”
NBC’s ad revenues increased from $850 million during the 2008 Beijing Summer Games to $1.25 billion for the 2012 London Olympics, according to NBC and the 2012 London Olympics, a study from the Harvard Business School.
NBC is getting significant dollars from official International Olympic Committee partners, including Atos, Coca-Cola, Bridgestone, Dow, GE, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung and Procter & Gamble.
Also adding major dollars to NBC's coffer are U.S. Olympic Committee partners such as 24 Hour Fitness, AT&T, BMW, BP, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), Chobani, Citi, Dick's Sporting Goods, Hershey, Hilton, Kellogg's, Liberty Mutual, Ralph Lauren, Smucker's, Ameritrade and United Airline.
“The value of live, big-event programming is more important than ever to advertisers because of its ability to reach large audiences," said Winter. "The Olympics’ ability to dominate primetime for 17 consecutive nights is unmatched. If brands want to reach viewers and their customers in the third quarter, they have to be in the Olympics.”
"We can say this is one of the most marketed games ever for both Olympic and Paralympic Games," Lisa Baird, CMO for the USOC, said during a media event in the Beverly Hills Ballroom earlier this month. "We have 39 sponsors and we work very closely with them to develop their promotions. And I can tell you almost every one has something very special planned.
"When that all comes together, what you hope as a marketer is that it really breaks through on the American consciousness," said Baird.
Among the new sports coming in is golf, which has not been played in the Olympics since 1904 and which has a huge fan and brand following worldwide.
In 2015, golf sponsorship spending reached a record $1.7 billion worldwide, up nearly 5% from the previous year, according to research and consulting firm IEG, Chicago.
Automakers are the most active category sponsoring golf, with 27% of of golf-related properties having a sponsor in the auto segment. Other top categories include banking, beverages-alcohol, insurance, hotel and resorts, media and publishing, telecom, beverages-non-alcohol and credit cards.
BMW is the most active sponsor, followed by Rolex, Anheuser-Busch, Emirates, MasterCard, Coca-Cola, Daimler, Fila, AT&T and Bacardi, according to IEG.
“The value of live, big-event programming is more important than ever to advertisers because of its ability to reach large audiences."
NBC said that although some of the most valuable inventory is gone, some primetime availability on the network as well as cable-channel inventory remain to be sold.
Winter also said that “Digital sales, which are reserved for our largest linear customers, are healthy as well. Our premium advertisers recognize that they receive more value by extending their messaging across multiple platforms.”
In 2011, NBCUniversal extended its TV rights deal for the Olympics through 2020 for $4.38 billion, and in 2014 extended those rights through 2023 for $7.65 billion, according to industry analysts.
NBC, which has started their promotion of the Games, is really exciting Americans and the appetite to watch these athletes," said Baird. "It will be all Olympics all the time now. We have to look at what NBC is doing to promote the Games. It is reaching new levels."
Officials See 2016 Olympics As 'Most Marketed Games Ever'
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