SBD/Issue 59/Sports Media

NBC To Create “Olympic Zone” Lead-In Show For Turin Games

NBC and its affiliates are partnering to create “Olympic Zone,” a 30-minute lead-in show that will air prior to NBC’s primetime coverage of the ’06 Turin Games. The show will combine locally-produced content and network-produced segments. Affiliates will provide local hosts. The program debuts February 8, two days prior to the Opening Ceremony, and will run every night except Sundays. KCRA, the NBC affil in Sacramento, produced a 30-minute Olympic show during the ‘04 Athens Games, which has served as a model for “Olympic Zone.” KCRA saw a more than 100% increase in audience during the Athens Games and a more than 160% increase in ad rates (NBC). As of Friday, “Olympic Zone” had cleared in about 70% of NBC markets (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 12/5). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Andy Bernstein reports the network will control 10% of the ad inventory within the shows, with the affils controlling 90%. There will also be a “Web component under the ‘Olympic Zone’ banner, with affiliates creating their own Olympic-themed Web sites during the Games, something they also did during the Athens Games” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/5 issue).

AD SALES: NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel indicated that advertising for the Turin Games is “already more than 80[%] sold out.” Zenkel: “We’re on pace with our sales projections and prior Olympics.” He added that a “couple of big deals were on the way and that ultimately the games will be a financial success.” Mediaedge Chief Investment Officer Rino Scanzoni said like other major events, “it’s probably the last 10[%] that’s the biggest struggle” in terms of ad sales. Scanzoni has clients negotiating Olympics deals with NBC and said that the net is “likely to be more accommodating than it has been during past Olympics to advertisers to get business done” (TV WEEK, 12/5 issue).

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