SBD/Closing Bell

NBC, Sports Group Chair Lazarus Expect Sochi Games To Be Profitable

NBC expects the '14 Sochi Games to be profitable, a marked reversal from the $223M loss from the '10 Vancouver Games reported by former network owner GE. Speaking during a press conference today, NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus said Olympic advertising sales are "pacing extremely well." He added, "This will be a very good moment (financially) for our company." The network's ad sales and distribution deals, including a first-ever Winter Olympics deployment of every event live on digital platforms, have made it possible to avoid similar losses in Sochi, Lazarus said.

NBC's sales team has benefited from having an extra night of primetime programming to sell. The IOC added a dozen new sports events such as snowboard slopestyle and team figure skating, and needed to expand the Olympics from 17 to 18 days in order to schedule the competitions. As a result, NBC today announced that its primetime coverage of the Sochi Games will begin a day earlier than usual. The network will air team figure skating, women's moguls, and snowboard slopestyle, featuring Shaun White, on Feb. 6.

The Opening Ceremony will take place the next day, and NBC execs believe the additional day of broadcasting will help boost viewership for the Sochi Games. NBC Olympics Exec Producer Jim Bell said, “It’s terrific to have this special added night of primetime Thursday, and to do so with one of these exciting sports the IOC added to the menu (like snowboard slopestyle) … will give us a unique opportunity to kick things off and set up the Opening Ceremony the following night in a big way.”

For more on NBC’s plans for Sochi, see tomorrow’s issue of THE DAILY.
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