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THE DAY AFTER: NBC GETS HIGH MARKS FOR OLYMPIC DEAL
Published December 14, 1995
One day after NBC announced it had purchased broadcast rights to the 2004, 2006, and 2008 Olympic Games, media writers around the country were still commenting on the deal -- one of the largest deals in TV sports history. IT'S ALL THE TALK: In Chicago, George Lazarus reports his "mini-survey" of advertisers and agencies indicates NBC "has pulled off a shrewd deal that offers competitive advantages versus the other networks." Page Thompson, Exec VP/U.S. Media Director for DDB Needham, says although the "media landscape" is uncertain ten years from now, "you can bet there will be 20 different ways that an outfit like NBC will be able to package programming and showcase it at that time." Tony Ponturo, Anheuser-Busch's VP Corporate/Media Sports Marketing, could not comment on A-B's future Olympic plans, but added, "We've been a sponsor for a long time, and there's no reason to think we won't be in the future." Lazarus concludes that NBC is "right on the money with its latest, though costly deal" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/14). In L.A., Randy Harvey writes NBC established "itself as the leader in sports broadcasting entering the next century." Harvey says NBC got the Games at "bargain rates" (L.A. TIMES, 12/14). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes on the strong "brand-name recognition" of the Olympics. Hiestand: "The Games are comprised of sports that otherwise get rock-bottom U.S. TV ratings. But slap on the Olympic brand name and -- voila! -- one-quarter of U.S. households might tune to see luge or synchronized swimming" (USA TODAY, 12/14). Agent Art Kaminsky: "The bottom line is that if your took Disney, ABC, Cap-Cities, Westinghouse, CBS, Time Warner and Turner, they don't even have half of what GE can put on the table. It's an awesome thing" (USA TODAY, 12/14). NOT ALL PRAISE: In Washington, Tony Kornheiser notes, "There's a reason folks don't make big purchases way in advance. Stuff happens." In addition to global warming, continental shift and political upheaval, Kornheiser notes the ages of top NBC announcers in 2008: Dick Enberg (74), Charlie Jones (77), Paul Maguire (70), Bob Costas (56), and Bryant Gumbel (60) (WASHINGTON POST, 12/14). KUDOS FOR DICK EBERSOL: The Olympic deals "put the largest possible exclamation point behind the 'big event' strategy" that NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol "devised to bring NBC Sports back from oblivion," according to Bill Carter of the N.Y. TIMES. Supporters and critics alike say Ebersol's "skill at one sports partner called 'relationship marketing' is truly what separates him" from other TV sports execs (N.Y. TIMES, 12/14). USA TODAY's Rudy Marktze gives Ebersol his award for Executive of the Year for the seventh straight year. Besides for the two Olympic deals, NBC retained MLB coverage and received a contract extension for their coverage of golf's U.S. Open (USA TODAY, 12/14). THE PIE IS GROWING: USOC Deputy Secretary General John Krimsky said he intends to ask the IOC for a bigger cut of NBC's $2.3B payment. Krimsky hopes to have their portion increased form 10% to 15%. Krimsky cited the contributions of a U.S. network and the enhanced sponsorship opportunities from a long- term relationship with NBC as reasons the U.S. should get more (Christine Brennan, WASHINGTON POST, 12/14).