SBD/Issue 86/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

NBC Increases Revenue Goals For Olympics As Ad Sales Pick Up

NBC Has Sold 92% Of
Its Revised Sales Goal
Despite claims that it will lose $200M on the Vancouver Games, NBC has seen its ad sales “pick up just enough to increase its revenue goals for the event,” according to Mickle & Ourand of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. NBC has sold 92% of its “newly revised sales goal, which is north of $650[M] for national sales -- a figure that does not include local sales at the network’s owned-and-operated stations.” NBC Senior VP/Sports and Olympics Sales & Marketing Seth Winter said, “We’re in very good shape.” NBC “expects total sales revenue for the Vancouver Games to fall in line with the previous two Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and Turin,” which totaled $740M and $930M, respectively. But NBC is "paying a much larger rights fee for the Vancouver Games," and a source said that the “newly revised revenue target still is well below the original one set several years ago.” NBC has set a “14.0 prime-time household ratings guarantee” for the Vancouver Games. Several Olympic sponsors, including U.S. sponsors like AT&T and Procter & Gamble, "have bought significant advertising time on NBC, and global partners like Visa, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s also purchased inventory during prime time.” NBC has “managed to bring Subway on board as an advertiser” in the QSR category, and the net has done “well in the insurance, movies and auto categories.” It has booked Audi and GM, which “helped make up for the loss of GM’s 10-year, $500[M] Olympic advertising commitment.” NBC still is “looking to add advertisers in some categories, including rental cars and beer, where USOC partner Anheuser-Busch opted not to buy exclusivity” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/18 issue).

HOW THE WEST WAS LOST: NBC last week disclosed that its primetime coverage of the Vancouver Games would not be live on the West Coast, and in Seattle, Ron Judd wrote if NBC "really believes most people want to be spoon fed" Olympic coverage "only after dark, but knows that some other malcontents prefer to watch sports live, why not do both?" Using a "cable network to put morning events on in the morning" would be a "win-win." But Judd wrote that will "never happen under" NBC Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol's leadership. Judd: "Which is another good reason to give the Olympic contract to a network that treats the Olympics as a live event, not schlock content to be repackaged at its own convenience" (SEATTLE TIMES, 1/17).

FAILED DEFENSE: In N.Y., Lauria & Covert wrote Ebersol's defense of the decision to return Jay Leno to late night was a "lame attempt to control the carnage created by NBC management's latest late-night screw up." Ebersol said disappointing ratings for Conan O'Brien's "The Tonight Show" were the reason for the move, but Lauria & Covert wrote, "Excuse us, but aren't Ebersol and [NBC Universal President & CEO] Jeff Zucker paid to make programming bets? Aren't they precisely the people who should be blamed for making the wrong ones? By the way, Dick, nice job on all that red ink soon to be spilled on your Winter Olympics bet. Who should be blamed for that one, Shaun White?" Ebersol's comments regarding the late night move are "not just ruthless, they're disingenuous" (N.Y. POST, 1/18).

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