SBD/August 2, 2012/OlympicsPrint All
In addition to the aggregated content in SBD, please visit our daily website produced by SBD/SBJ devoted to the London Olympics. Read from our reporters on the ground, Tripp Mickle and John Ourand, as well as other contributors, about the latest news from the Games, including for today how Dow pegs its Olympics-generated business at $1B by 2020, the latest spending numbers from Visa, and how one reporter sought out to visit three historic venues in three days.
NBC is averaging a 19.5 rating and 35.6 million viewers through the first five nights of taped competition from the London Games, up 10% and 14%, respectively, from a 17.8 rating and 31.3 million viewers through the same period during the '08 Beijing Games, when much of the competition was shown live. The net finished with a 21.8 rating and 38.7 million viewers for Tuesday night's telecast, marking the highest-rated night of any Summer Olympics since the '96 Atlanta Games. Tuesday's coverage was highlighted by Michael Phelps winning his record 19 Olympic medal and the U.S. women's gymnastics team earning the Gold in the team competition. The 19.5 rating marks the best Tuesday night primetime rating for any net -- regardless of programming -- since Feb. 19 during the '02 Salt Lake City Games, when coverage featuring the ladies' figure skating short program, averaged a 22.3 rating (THE DAILY).PRIMETIME OLYMPIC RATINGSDayLondonBeijingAthensSydneyAtlanta
Opening CeremonyFri.21.018.814.616.223.6 Day 2Sat.15.813.911.813.117.2 Day 3Sun.19.818.115.414.622.9 Day 4Mon.18.017.616.613.822.9 Day 5Tues.21.820.018.315.527.25-Night Avg.19.517.815.414.622.9
ABOUT LAST NIGHT: NBC earned a 20.1 overnight Nielsen rating for the sixth night of coverage from the London Games last night. While figures are subject to change when final numbers are released, the overnight is up 2.5% from a 19.6 rating for the same night during the Beijing Games. Last night’s coverage featured the men’s gymnastics all-around Gold Medal final, as well as swimming Gold Medal finals for the men’s 20-meter breaststroke and 100-meter freestyle and women’s 200-meter butterfly and the 200-meter freestyle relay (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
LAZARUS SAYS NBC COULD SEE PROFIT: NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus on a conference call today said the net could be profitable on the London Games after losing $200M in the ’10 Vancouver Games. He said, “We think there’s a small chance, and a chance we could make a little bit of money. We’ll know over the next couple weeks.” NBC realized Monday it could re-enter the ad market, and Lazarus said, “Once we got a few days of competition under our belt, we had a degree of confidence that we could sustain at least some level of where the ratings were at.” He added, “We have on-going sales and interest from people who have sort of caught the fever of what’s going on out there and contacted us about buying more inventory” (Joe Perez, THE DAILY).
TAPE DELAY IS A-OKAY? The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Suzanne Vranica reports while "particular anger has been unleashed" on NBC's tape-delayed primetime coverage, it is "hard to say" exactly how widespread the disapproval is. One group "critical to NBC's financial standing doesn't seem to mind: media buyers and Olympic advertisers such as Coca-Cola Co. and Chobani Yogurt." Coca-Cola Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer Joe Tripodi said, "There will always be individuals who complain about everything, and now, with social media, they have a megaphone to broadcast their opinions over the Internet. I much prefer the NBC broadcast to theirs." Kellogg Co. Senior VP/Marketing Doug VandeVelde said, "Consumers are voting with their eyeballs." However, Vranica notes ad buyers "wonder if there are enough compelling story lines to carry the momentum through the rest of the 17-day Olympic broadcast" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/2).
IF IT AIN'T BROKE...: In Atlanta, Mark Bradley wrote fans may dislike the way NBC presents the Olympics "for mass consumption, but we're still watching." It would be "terrible business for NBC to air its coverage of the gymnastics finals or a Michael Phelps race as they happen for a basic television reason: They’re happening five hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time, which means they’re happening in daylight. More people, duh, watch TV at night" (AJC.com, 8/1). SI.com's Michael Rosenberg asked, "If you ran NBC, would you radically change the coverage?" Rosenberg: "Your job is to make a profit. Once you dole out $47.3 kazillion dollars for these Olympics ... you really need to maximize your prime time television rating. Otherwise you'll get fired from your job running NBC." He added, "If I ran NBC, I'd be terrified of changing anything. ... I'd worry that if I changed the coverage, I'd attract 500,000 more hardcore sports fans and lose 5 million casual Olympics fans" (SI.com, 8/1). NBC's Al Michaels said, "If a television executive knew or felt or thought, or researched showed that you would get a bigger audience at 10 o’clock in the morning than at 8 o’clock at night, what time do you think we’d be on? We’d be on at 10 o’clock in the morning. It's so simple. ... The ratings are fantastic" ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN Radio, 8/2). SPORTS ON EARTH's Will Leitch wrote, "NBC isn't doing a disservice to its viewers. It's just ignoring the ones who don't matter." For the net, the London Games is "programming more than it is sport." NBC's goal "is not to make diehards happy; it's to create an ideal television viewing experience" (SPORTSONEARTHBLOG.com, 7/31). Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s Pat Boyle: “Everyone’s upset with the tape delay, but the ratings say they’re doing just fine.” The Chicago Tribune's Dave Van Dyke: "It’s like a soap opera. Once you start watching the thing, you’ve got to keep watching it every day” (“Chicago Tribune Live,” Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 8/1).
THE PSYCHE OF THE VIEWER: The AP's David Bauder writes some viewers "detach themselves from the news so the results of NBC's tape-delayed prime time are a surprise to them," but it is "clear that many people do the opposite -- they seek out the results and base their viewing decisions on them." Tuesday's coverage of the gymnastics team's win "had 7 million more viewers than the night before, when the men's team fell flat" (AP, 8/2). In Boston, Sara Gaynes writes, “I’m actively avoiding spoilers, but I keep learning results anyway." Gaynes found out about U.S. swimmer Matt Grevers' win in the 100-meter backstroke, Phelps' record medal and the gymnastics team's win online, but she still "watched all three performances hours later." Gaynes: "Why? Because the Olympics are not just about the medals. They’re about the stories, the performances, every moment leading up to the win” (BOSTON HERALD, 8/2). Quinnipiac Univ. journalism professor Richard Hanley said, "Television is best equipped to present the Olympics as spectacle, as a story, even if you know the outcome." He added that watching the Olympics "is a communal event." Hanley: "People tend to watch the Olympics with other people, the big screen, with wonderful high-definition. You could see the tears flowing" (HARTFORD COURANT, 8/2).
COVERAGE REVIEWS: The FINANCIAL TIMES' John Gapper writes NBC's coverage of the London Games "has been less like a sports broadcast than a surrealist farce in which the characters affect to know less than the audience." Doing something "so ridiculous, no matter how ingeniously it may be justified on financial grounds, takes its toll on NBC's credibility" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/2). The AP's Bauder writes, "There's a formula to NBC's prime time, and it makes the Olympics seem smaller than it is," but it is "hard to argue with success." Bauder: "Start out with some diving, mix in a Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings beach volleyball match, some swimming and gymnastics." Meanwhile, it "was a spoiler" when NBC's Bob Costas gave a "nice tribute" to British Gold Medal-winning rowing team of Helen Glover and Heather Stanning. Bauder: "You knew the British contenders wouldn't be winning any subsequent competitions NBC showed Wednesday night" (AP, 8/2). In Las Vegas, C. Douglas Nielsen notes U.S. skeet shooters Kim Rhode and Vincent Hancock won Gold Medals, "both setting Olympic records in the process." Unfortunately, the U.S. "will never see the shooting sports on TV in their entirety." Shooting events "don't just take a backseat to swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball; they are kept in the trunk." However, highlights are available "if you dig around the Olympic website," and they are "worth watching" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 8/2). In S.F., Bruce Jenkins writes NBC's "four-hour shows have been well-edited and extremely entertaining." But primetime "shouldn't begin at 8 p.m. in this case." Instead it "should run from 7 p.m. to 11" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/2).
SNEAKING THROUGH THE ALLEY: In L.A., Laura Hautala writes some Olympic fans "not happy with NBC's coverage ... have found a way around the BBC restrictions by using a common online business tool -- a virtual private network that can cost as little as $10 a month." Some viewers are "using them to fool the BBC into thinking a computer is in Britain when it isn't." BBC spokesperson Ian Walker said the net "geo-blocks its online content." Walker "would not respond to questions about VPN use to get around the blocks" (L.A. TIMES, 8/2). In Charlotte, Scott Fowler writes the commentary "is great" on the BBC's coverage. It is "more subdued -- silence is not at all uncommon -- and the vocabulary is definitely British.” In one badminton match, a player was "trying to convince a referee that a shuttlecock that was clearly in had landed out.” The BBC commentator then said, “Ooooh, she’s being a bit naughty there” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/2).
LACK OF STREAMING INFORMATION: AD WEEK's Charlie Warzel wrote it is "shocking how little data has been released on how many folks are bothering to stream the games." He asked, "Is the Web more trackable than TV?" In an age when site metrics are "monitored obsessively, there would seem to be no logistical reason to release digital metrics so slowly." It is "possible NBC is biding its time and bundling their digital numbers to gain a larger sample size, but questions inevitably arise as the company stays mum" (ADWEEK.com, 8/1).
Salt Lake City leads all U.S. markets for NBC's primetime London Games telecasts through five nights with a 27.1 local rating. The market, which hosted the Winter Olympics 10 years ago, also led all U.S. markets during the 17 nights during the '10 Vancouver Games with a 21.9 local rating and tied for first with Denver during the '08 Beijing Games with a 23.1 rating. K.C. ranks second for the London coverage with a 25.4 rating. The market did not rank in the top 10 during Vancouver or Beijing. Denver (25.2), Milwaukee (25.1) and San Diego (25.0) round out the top five for London. Columbus leads all Eastern time zone markets with a 24.5 rating. Milwaukee topped all markets through the first five nights in '08 with a 23.2 local rating (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
NBC LOCAL MARKET RATINGS THROUGH
FIVE NIGHTS OF LONDON GAMESRANK
MARKET (SIZE IN U.S.)RATING1 Salt Lake City (33)27.12 K.C. (31)25.43 Denver (17)25.24 Milwaukee (34)25.15 San Diego (28)25.06 Columbus (32)24.57 Indianapolis (26)24.38 Norfolk (43)23.89 Richmond (57)23.610 West Palm Beach (38)23.0t11 DC (8)22.9t11 Oklahoma City (44)22.9t13 Minneapolis-St. Paul (15)22.6t13 Austin (47)22.615 Albuquerque-Santa Fe (45)22.516 Ft. Myers-Naples (62)22.3t17 Sacramento (20)22.2t17 St. Louis (21)22.2t17 Portland (22)22.2t17 Nashville (29)22.2
LOCAL INTEREST: Journal Broadcast Group Exec VP Steve Wexler said he is not sure why Milwaukee ranks as high for Olympic viewership as it does, but notes the "appetite for it is enormous." Wexler speculated the "tradition of Olympic athletes" from the Milwaukee area factors into the interest. In Milwaukee, Duane Dudek noted WTMJ-NBC, owned by JBG, "didn't send any reporters to London and hasn't sent any to the Games for the past eight years." Wexler said that it is "a matter of expense vs. return." Wexler "would not reveal how many local commercial availabilities NBC gives WTMJ-TV during the Olympics." But he said that there are "more during the day, for which the station charges advertisers less, and fewer during prime time, for which the station charges more." Dudek noted WTMJ is "using the extra viewer eyeballs to its promotional advantage, with a series of new 'image' ads for its newscasts that are designed to 'remind people who we are and what we do here when the Olympics are not on'" (JSONLINE.com, 7/31). In Portland, Daniel Mediate noted KGW-NBC "has experienced a huge boom to its ratings" due to the Olympics. The station on Monday drew a 21.9 rating; the "typical daily rating from the month May was 4.5" (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/1).
NBC's “Today” has “substantially changed its team” since the '10 Vancouver Games, but its coverage of the London Olympics contains the “same tired mix of fawning interviews and stars-try-the-sports shtick as they avoid anything that comes too uncomfortably close to actual news or controversy,” according to Robert Bianco of USA TODAY. The show is broadcasting three hours live each weekday from London, and viewers have grown “used to the Olympic version of ‘Today' being more E! than ESPN" during the Games. However, it "doesn't seem unreasonable to expect a show produced by the news division to keep up with Olympic news.” U.S. cyclist Kristin Armstrong won her second straight Gold Medal in the time trial event prior to the start of "Today" yesterday, and an “actual news show would attach a spoiler alert and tell us, but ‘Today' cares only about yesterday.” Instead of news, “Today” fills the hours “touring markets, eating British food and talking to (mostly) winners from the day before” (USA TODAY, 8/2). This morning’s episode of “Today” led with co-hosts Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales and Al Roker standing beneath a large set of Olympic rings perched atop a hill in the Olympic Park. Guthrie said, “We have taken a little walk this morning down the road from our set to see these Olympic rings.” Lauer added, “With the brouhaha over the Olympic cauldron located in Olympic Stadium where people can’t get to it or get a view of it to take that iconic photograph, people have been looking for an alternative and this has become the go-to place. We’ve got some Olympic rings up on a hill. There’s a line of people waiting to take photos here. In fact, we stopped by just a moment ago and took a photo of our own.” The photo shows the co-hosts smiling and “jumping for joy,” according to Roker ("Today," NBC, 8/2).
THIS IS "TODAY": In addition to the photo op, the opening hour of "Today" included live interviews with Bronze Medal-winning all-around gymnast DANELL LEYVA and fellow Team USA gymnast JOHN OROZCO and Gold Medal-winning swimmer SHANNON VREELAND, a taped interview with beach volleyball players KERRI WALSH JENNINGS and MISTY MAY-TREANOR. It also featured taped reports on the disqualified badminton players and the taxes Olympians could owe the IRS for their medals and prize money. NBCOlympics.com’s ALAN ABRAHAMSON discussed the success of the U.S. swimmers. The second hour included former Gold Medalists NASTIA LIUKIN, CARLY PATTERSON and MARY LOU RETTON previewing GABBY DOUGLAS and ALY RAISMAN competing in the women’s gymnastics all-around event, a live interview with snowboarder SHAUN WHITE, a taped report on U.S. swimmer NATHAN ADRIAN winning the Gold Medal in the 100-meter freestyle and a taped report on the emotions parents of Olympians face during their children’s competitions. The third hour included live interviews with Gold Medal-winning cyclist KRISTIN ARMSTRONG, Bronze Medal-winning synchronized divers TROY DUMAIS and KRISTIAN IPSEN and gymnastics analysts TIM DAGGETT and ELFI SCHLEGEL (THE DAILY).
THE REAL DEAL ON THE REAL DEAL: In N.Y., Victoria Cavaliere noted Monday's episode of "Today" stopped "random people in front of Buckingham Palace ... to ask about Queen Elizabeth's performance" during the Opening Ceremony. A man in a white baseball cap and blue T-shirt said the Queen was "wonderful." The comment "was strung together with a series of others from passers-by, but it turned out the gracious American tourist" was boxing HOFer Evander Holyfield. The net was "unaware of who they had just interviewed." Holyfield later tweeted, "Look, the @todayshow did a good job. It was hard to recognize me with the baseball cap. This could happen to any reporter. LOL!!" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/1).
The CBC won the Canadian TV rights to the '14 Sochi and '16 Rio de Janeiro Games after it initially "balked at costs they could no longer stomach," according to Brendan Kennedy of the TORONTO STAR. Terms of the CBC's deal with the IOC were not disclosed, but a source said that the deal was worth between C$75-80M -- or C$5-10M "more than a joint bid made by CBC and Bell earlier this year." Rival telecommunications companies Bell and Rogers had "partnered in 2007 to form the Canadian Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium in order to outbid the CBC for the broadcasting rights to the 2010 Vancouver and 2012 London Games." But after losing an estimated C$20-80M "on the Vancouver Games alone, neither company was willing to make a bid that satisfied the IOC, especially without any guarantee that NHL players would be participating" in the '14 Sochi Games. CBC VP/English Television Kristine Stewart said that the company "believes Canadians will watch Olympic hockey whether or not NHL players are involved" (TORONTO STAR, 8/2). The CP's Cassandra Szklarski noted the deal "does not cut out rival broadcasters entirely." Stewart said that the terms "include sub-licensing rights allowing CBC to partner with other networks" (CP, 8/1).
UPPING THE ANTE: The GLOBE & MAIL's Josh O'Kane notes the CBC is "keeping the bid's cost confidential, even as it faces" C$115M in cuts over the next three years. The net has "long been a supporter of Canadian sports, but the loss of the Olympics since 2010, has forced it to lean significantly on 'Hockey Night in Canada' -- whose rights come up for bid again in 2014." Charlton Strategic Research President Gord Hendren said, "There's no question that this solidifies their position in the sports game. The only concern is whether this has used any resources that could be directed to NHL rights" (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/2).
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) yesterday introduced the Olympic Tax Elimination Act, which "exempts U.S. medal winners from paying taxes on 'any prize or award' won in any Olympic competition," according to Roberts & Argetsinger of the WASHINGTON POST. Rubio said, "Our tax code is a complicated and burdensome mess that too often punishes success, and the tax imposed on Olympic medal winners is a classic example of this madness." The bill would be "retroactively effective Jan. 1, 2012." Bill sponsors are "trying to get a vote before Thursday's summer recess; if passed in both houses, it will go to President Obama" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 8/1). SPORTING NEWS' David Whitley wrote Rubio either "sensed a political opening" or he has been "overcome by the Olympic spirit." The Tax Reform Foundation "released a simple study on the tax implications of Olympic Success." The USOC awards athletes $25,000 for a Gold Medal, $15,000 for a Silver and $10,000 for a Bronze. At the top income rate of 35%, that "means a gold medalist will owe Uncle Sam $8,896." Each silver "means a $5,385 bill, and each bronze is $3,502" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 8/1).
SOME ATHLETES OK WITH RULE 40: The GUARDIAN's Anna Kessel noted several British athletes have "rejected an American track and field campaign to overturn the rule of the Olympic charter stating that athletes cannot promote their sponsors during the Games." British heptathlete Jessica Ennis, hurdler Dai Greene and long jumper Greg Rutherford "collectively refused to endorse the movement, stating that an athletes' Olympics ideal should remain protected from financial motivation." Ennis said, "People can get so wrapped up in the money side of things. ... It's not about that, and I think it would take away from how special it is to actually make the team and win a medal" (GUARDIAN, 8/1). Greene said, "I don't think any of us for one second thinks we deserve the right to be paid to be here. We've all worked our socks off because we want to be the Gold Medalist and to get the kit and be part of the team and something special. I think that's more than enough payment for us all to be honest" (REUTERS, 8/1). U.S. Silver Medal-winning cyclist Evie Stevens said, "For me, the Olympics is about the sport, it’s about the passion, it’s about representing your country and just the Olympic spirit. There are so many issues in the world, but in that Olympic Village all that’s put aside. ... That’s what I’m focusing on” (“Squawk Box,” CNBC, 8/2).
RULE A FORM OF BULLYING: Octagon Managing Dir of Olympic & Action Sports Peter Carlisle, who reps Michael Phelps and Aly Raisman, said of Rule 40, “It’s a form of bullying. It’s so expensive (for these athletes) to compete on the world stage. You need to pay for that. Most of the athletes are funded by either their own communities or sponsors. But Rule 40 makes it hard to get a company to invest in an athlete when they’re blacked out from capitalizing on them during potentially the most lucrative time.” He added that competing has “gotten prohibitively costly and it’s simply not fair to choke off the one money pipe that flows most freely during the crucial weeks of the Olympics.” Former U.S. sprinter Maurice Greene said of the IOC, “They’re pimps. We’re out there competing and they’re the ones who get to make the money” (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/1).
U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte will attempt to win his third Gold Medal in London tonight in the 200-meter backstroke, and to some he is a "stud swimmer ... but to others he's simply a stud,” and Madison Avenue “has noticed,” according to Pat Forde of YAHOO SPORTS. Lochte is “not hurting for endorsements, including heavy-rotation TV commercials during the Olympics for AT&T and Gillette.” They both feature “plenty of close-ups of Lochte, plus footage of him in his swim suit.” N.Y.-based public relations firm KMSPR CEO Kathleen Schmidt said that Lochte “brings an enticing combination of qualities to Main Street USA.” Schmidt said, "He's cool enough for kids and hot enough for their moms. ... Any brands that lock in with him will have an advantage because of his sex appeal -- but also his non-punk status." Forde notes fans should not “be surprised if female viewership of the Olympics spikes” during tonight's race, because with Lochte “earning that much airtime, admiring eyeballs will follow.” However, despite all that Lochte “brings to the table, he might not even be the most marketable American swimmer not named” Michael Phelps. That could be “17-year-old sensation Missy Franklin, who is the picture of wholesomeness to offset the Lochte sexiness” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/2).
TURN THE GRILL ON: In N.Y., Eric Wilson writes Lochte’s patriotic-designed grill that he occasionally wears “does not lend itself to many obvious endorsement opportunities,” as jewelers “seemed to be fairly divided over the look.” Designer Robert Tateossian said, “I was really a bit upset when I saw it. It is so nonharmonious with his image and with the sport that he represents.” However, Tony Khan, whose Houston-based jewelry store designed the grill, has “received hundreds of inquiries” about it. Khan said that it “was completely Mr. Lochte’s design,” and “quite complicated to produce with believable stars and stripes on high-quality diamonds” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/2).
SCHMITT HAPPENS: YAHOO SPORTS' Forde wrote under the header, “Allison Schmitt Steals The Spotlight And Laughs Her Way To Becoming U.S. Swimming’s Breakout Star.” Schmitt, who has two Gold Medals this year after yesterday swimming a come-from-behind anchor leg in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay, “keeps chuckling her way around the pool deck after medal ceremonies with yet another hunk of hardware around her neck.” Forde: “Let's hear it for the winner and unforeseen star (so far) of London. The last of many laughs belongs to Allison Schmitt” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/1).
REAL AMERICAN HERO: NBCOlympics.com’s Alan Abrahamson said swimmer Nathan Adrian “is an instant American hero” after he won the 100-meter freestyle. Abrahamson: “He comes from a great family. He is everything you’d want in a guy. He is old school. He's gentle, he's soft-spoken and you know what, he just came up big at the greatest time.” Abrahamson said the U.S. swim team “is going to win one-third of Team USA’s medals. It’s great and they’re doing fantastic” (“Today,” NBC, 8/2).
STILL AVOIDING AMBUSH TAG: MARKETING magazine’s John Reynolds reported Nike has “produced a quick-turnaround digital outdoor and print campaign” featuring British marathoner Paula Radcliffe, “just days after she pulled out of the Olympics” with a foot injury. If Radcliffe had “not been hit by injury, Nike, which is not an official London 2012 sponsor, would not have been able to run the ad because of stringent rules protecting sponsors during the Olympics.” The ad features Radcliffe “brandishing a Union Jack flag” alongside the tagline, "Legends Run Forever" (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 8/1).
STYLE GUIDE: U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay will be wearing a pair of adiZero Prime SPs during his 100 meter competition, which begins on Saturday. The shoes will be personalized with an American-flag inspired design and his daughter’s name, Trinity, on the tongue (adidas).
British Olympic Association Chair Colin Moynihan today said that he “remained concerned about the empty seats at the London Olympics, saying it was ‘unfair’ on Britain's competing athletes,” according to Avril Ormsby of REUTERS. Moynihan said, "I don't feel any more relaxed today than I did two days ago. There's some initiatives that LOCOG have tried to take, (Culture and Sport Secretary) Jeremy Hunt is still looking into this, but it is a subject which has got to tax the minds of those who are responsible for the ticketing each and every day between now and the end of the Games." A LOCOG spokesperson responded to his comments saying, "Colin should come and talk to us if he has got other ideas." The spokesperson said, "We actually think that we are moving through this quite successfully, to have 80 percent of the accredited seating filled yesterday, which was a very, very different situation to what it looked like on Monday" (REUTERS, 8/2).
NEW TRACK TICKETS AVAILABLE: In London, Sam Masters reports up to 1,600 tickets for track and field events will be "put on sale at the last minute.” LOCOG CEO Paul Deighton said that tickets had been “held back until now so that views from certain seats were unrestricted.” Deighton: “You sort of hold them back to make sure all the seats work and all the views are not restricted. So as we're seeing how every venue works we are releasing the final tickets.” The news will be “welcomed by fans who have struggled to get tickets.” (London INDEPENDENT, 8/2). LOCOG said that the “final conversion of the stadium after last week’s opening ceremony had opened up several spaces in which seats can now be placed” (London TELEGRAPH, 8/2).
DOUBLE DUTY: In a separate piece, the TELEGRAPH’s Kirkup reports Olympic volunteers are "reportedly being told to bring a spare shirt to work to fill spare seats without being conspicuous, amid criticism over the spectacle of halfempty venues.” Volunteers said that managers had asked some of them to “bring clothes into which they could change, so that they could blend in while taking up vacant spaces in VIP areas.” LOCOG said that it was “not trying to cover up the use of volunteers to fill seats” (London TELEGRAPH, 8/2). In Charlotte, Scott Fowler writes, “I have talked to a number of Londoners in subways and other public places about the ‘empty-seat’ problem these Olympics are having, and that is by far their biggest issue with these Olympics” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/2).
CROWD SURFING: In Miami, Michelle Kaufman notes there was a "spirited crowd of 28,000 at the Lord’s Cricket Ground” for the archery competition yesterday (MIAMI HERALD, 8/2). The AP’s Paul White wrote under the header, “Once Banned, Women’s Soccer Thriving At Olympics.” The 18 women's games played so far at the Olympics have “averaged 22,242, although officials at the games in Scotland said tens of thousands of tickets were given away.” The crowd of 14,753 attending the Canada-South Africa match in Coventry is “definitely not the norm.” White asked, "Might the London Games finally get the women's game firmly on the sporting radar in Britain, much the same way that the Atlanta Olympics put U.S. women's soccer on the map in 1996?” (AP, 8/1).
ALL SALES ARE FINAL: Deighton said that spectators at Tuesday night’s controversial badminton competitions involving the disqualifications of four teams “will not be offered a refund.” Deighton: “They did get to see another game, it was not a one-off game. No one has asked for a refund, if we did you get into strange precedents and very grey and dangerous territory” (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 8/1). Meanwhile, the U.K. Office of Fair Trading yesterday said that a “black market operation in London Olympics tickets has been stopped and buyers of 20,000 seats will be denied entry to venues.” The OFT said that a “joint operation with police had shut down websites run by Euroteam, an unauthorized ticket trader based in Oslo, Norway.” IOC Marketing Commission Chair Gerhard Heiberg said that it “was not clear if the seized tickets were sold to the black market by international sports officials” (AP, 8/2).
The track cycling competition begins today at the Olympic Velodrome, which has "become as much a rock star as the athletes who will compete inside it,” according to Greg Bishop of the N.Y. TIMES. The $150M velodrome, nicknamed the Pringle because it is "shaped like a Pringles potato chip," was completed "earlier and sold out faster than any other Olympic site.” It won architecture design awards “before it hosted a competition.” The building “runs on a system designed to keep the track at the ideal temperature for speed, 82.4 degrees.” Below the track “lies an underflow heating system,” and the arena doors “do not open wide and they close quickly, so as to eliminate wind when spectators enter and leave.” As many as “10 employees check for temperature, for carbon dioxide and for wind levels, and adjust accordingly.” The velodrome “underscores the place track cycling has come to occupy in Britain over the past decade” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/2).
MAKING A SPLASH: The AP’s Janie McCauley wrote the Olympic Aquatics Centre is “like nothing Britain has seen.” Olympic Delivery Authority Project Exec Ian Crockford said designers examined not just Olympic requirements, but also "what we needed for the future for a really good quality community pool." The venue is “largely considered the signature design feature at Olympic Park.” The facility, which cost “about $470 million to build and was designed by renowned London architect Zaha Hadid, features state-of-the-art pools that can change depths thanks to moving floors” (AP, 8/1).
TOURING AROUND: In London, Alan Lee writes under the header, “A Trip To The Basketball Arena Proves A Hassle-Free Blast.” Lee writes the first thing that "strikes you about the Basketball Arena is that you would quite like to eat it." Lee: "Icy white and decorated with dimples, it looks like nothing so much as a giant birthday cake.” The courtside presentation during yesterday’s basketball games was “crucial, first bringing basketball alive, then giving it the brash context of its American pomp.” Twenty minutes before the first game, an “explanatory video told us how the tournament works.” The arena will host the preliminary rounds of the basketball, plus the handball finals (LONDON TIMES, 8/2).
THE ONE AND ONLY: In San Diego, Mark Zeigler writes the Horse Guards Parade, where beach volleyball competition is being held, is “pretty cool, and pretty surreal.” There has “never been an Olympic venue quite like it, and it’s hard to imagine there ever will be” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/2). MACLEANS’ Jonathon Gatehouse writes, “It feels like you’re sitting at the very heart of the British Empire. Until you look down and see the women in bikinis.” But as “incongruous as it all is, it works.” Gatehouse: “The crowd sings, dances and cheers. For set and match points they’re on their feet roaring. And despite the fact that most them couldn’t tell a bump from a bumper, let alone explain the scoring system, they are clearly enjoying the hell out of themselves. It’s like the Olympic’s apology for all that Skeet Shooting and Dressage. A cheese-filled, frivolous wrapping for some serious athletic competition and dedicated athletes” (MACLEANS.ca, 8/2).
COE BLOWN AWAY: In Phoenix, Dan Bickley writes for the “most part, the Games are off to a jolly good start.” LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said, "I've now visited 16 sports. And I've been absolutely blown away by the noise, the vibrancy, just the humor and the excitement (at the venues). And I guess I'm happy if the people are happy" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/2).
London Mayor Boris Johnson yesterday was "left dangling inelegantly in front of a watching crowd" after he took the inaugural ride on the zip line in Victoria Park, according to Hannah Furness of the London TELEGRAPH. Johnson donned a "hard hat and two Union flags as he attempted to sail down" the zip line, but he "ground steadily to a halt on the wire." He spent "around five minutes hanging comically from the drooping line." Eyewitnesses said that he "spent the intervening minutes waving his flags and leading the audience in cheering on British gold medal-winning rowers" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 8/1). As onlookers took pictures, Johnson joked, "This is great fun but it needs to go faster." A Johnson spokesperson said, "The mayor has survived his first zip wire experience relatively unscathed. Clearly the judges are likely to have marked the mayor down for artistic impression, and unlike team GB, the mayor may not be winning too many Gold medals today" (BBC.co.uk, 8/1). The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Helen Warrell wrote it was “clear that this was not a stunt that any other politician would have attempted” (FT.com, 8/1). The AP’s Sylvia Hui writes some are calling Johnson stuck on the zip wire “the best moment at the Olympics so far” (AP, 8/2). CNBC’s Kelly Evans said, “If anyone has won the Olympics, I would say it’s Boris Johnson” (“Worldwide Exchange,” CNBC, 8/2). ABC News' Bill Weir said, "This makes Michael Dukakis in the tank look like Patton, but somehow Boris pulls it off as a politician” (“GMA,” ABC, 8/2). Fox Business' Liz Claman said Johnson is the "unofficial mascot" of the Games. Johnson: "It’s all going horribly right. So far -- touch wood -- without being complacent, we do think we’re having a very good Games so far. It’s incredibly enjoyable" ("Countdown to the Closing Bell," Fox Business, 8/1).
COME ON DOWN! In London, Oliver Wright noted Johnson was “in the park to promote free Olympic events -- some of which had been suffering from people’s reluctance to travel during the games.” Yesterday he “played down suggestions that his warnings over transport chaos had prompted an Olympics-related mini recession in the capital.” Johnson insisted that businesses “which had engaged with the Games were prospering.” Johnson: “What's happening is people are having a great time and those who are looking to engage with the Games are doing great business” (INDEPENDENT.co.uk, 8/1). LOCOG CEO Paul Deighton was asked about reports of the Games negatively impacting business in parts of London and said, "In a very, very short term, day vs. day, there will be some changes in the (economic) pattern. But long term, given the images of London that are being sent around the world, from the Opening Ceremony, from the torch relay, from these events, it will be a huge economic boost to the capital" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/2).
BORIS AND RUPERT: Johnson “defended his decision to invite” News Corp. Chair & CEO Rupert Murdoch “to watch Olympic swimming events Friday, describing Murdoch as an important sponsor of sports.” News Corp. is the subject of “a long-running U.K. police and parliamentary investigation into phone-tapping by journalists at its publications, chiefly the defunct News of the World tabloid.” But Johnson yesterday said that “no one had proven that Murdoch did anything wrong and he would be poolside at the Olympic swimming finals” (AP, 8/2).
GETTING IN HIS CHOPS: The AP’s David Stringer reports U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron is planning to take Russian President Vladimir Putin “to the Olympics to see matches in the Russian leader's beloved judo competition.” Putin is an “honorary president of the International Judo Federation” (AP, 8/2). Meanwhile, in a special to the LONDON TIMES, United Civil Front Founder & Chair Garry Kasparov, a former chess world champion, writes of Putin's presence and his role in the Sochi '14 Games, “It is high time that the Olympic movement embraced human ideals and ended its marathon romance with dictators” (LONDON TIMES, 8/2).
PRESIDENTIAL SHOUTOUT: In DC, David Nakamura noted President Obama yesterday called the five members of the women’s gymnastics team "to congratulate them for ‘bringing home the gold’ Tuesday night.” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that Obama “spoke to Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross and Gabby Douglas, in that order ... giving each a personal message.” Obama also called swimmer Michael Phelps after becoming the most-decorated Olympian ever. Obama said, "The greatest Olympian ever! We couldn’t be prouder.” Obama yesterday also "made sure to give a shout out to several Ohio-bred athletes who are competing in the Olympics and the Paralympics” during a campaign stop in Mansfield, Ohio. He noted that Abby Johnston “from Upper Arlington won a silver medal in diving, and mentioned Army Specialist Justin Lester of Akron, who is on the U.S. wrestling team” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 8/1).
International visitors to the London Games have spent almost $700M through Visa since July 23. The company yesterday said that travelers from the U.S. spent $85.5M, more than any other country. Japan ($50.9M) and France ($41.5M) spent the second and third most, respectively. Visa also was tracking money spent by its cardholders by sector. There has been $133.7M spent on services ranging from shoe repair to spa treatments, $95.5M on entertainment, like theater tickets, $82.9M on airlines and $71.8M with retailers ranging from antique shops to drug stores (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).
Country USD Percent U.S. $85.5M 12% Japan $50.9M 7% France $41.5M 6% Italy $39.5M 6% Australia $35.3M 5% Ireland $32.4M 5% Spain $31.1M 4% Germany $30.9M 4% Canada $24.1M 3% Sweden $23.4M 3%
MAKING A SPLASH: Speedo USA President Jim Gerson said the company has "seen a rise" in sales during the Games, but the big "bump will come afterwards, because the fact is it raises the awareness of swimming." Speedo's Lazr swimsuits are being worn by several U.S. swimmers, including Gold Medal-winner Ryan Lochte. Gerson said, "Not everybody is going to be the fastest in the pool. I'm not going to be an Olympic athlete and race in the pool, but the fact is we also create products for fitness and also active recreation. We take some of these same technologies and bring it right into our fitness areas" ("Countdown to the Closing Bell," Fox Business, 7/31).
OPEN DOOR POLICY: The AP's Jill Lawless notes national hospitality houses "offer a base for a country's athletes, officials and occasional celebrities." Some are "open to the public, showing a festive side to tourists from around the world," while others are "strictly invitation only, like the American pavilion at the Royal College of Art." Lawless gives her "eclectic, unscientific" reviews of a few of the countries' houses (AP, 8/2).
Many in the Twitterverse have been eager to share their thoughts on the Olympic badminton scandal. While some opine as to the fairness of disqualifying the players involved, others take the opportunity to poke fun at the scope of the scandal itself. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish wrote, “Don't NBA teams do what these badminton teams did all the time?” Forbes.com’s Alicia Jessop tweeted, “The World Badminton Foundation should thank those who threw their matches. I've never heard so much about badminton!” ESPN LA’s Ramona Shelburne: “Hard to watch that video of badminton players making a mockery of the Olympics, knowing how badly sports like softball want to be back in.” U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones wrote, “nancy grace is going to evaluate the badminton cheating scandal. You just wait.” L.A. Times’ Bill Plaschke: “My favorite part of story is IOC refusing to refund tickets for tanked badminton games. So they can't accept tanking but fans must? Classic.” Pro Football Talk’s Darin Gantt tweeted, “The only thing worse than not trying hard enough in badminton is trying hard enough in badminton.” ESPN’s Kenny Mayne: “Given the badminton issue..it's time I admit I went ‘all in’ on dog hand in a WS satellite tourney to get out..but drew full house, won.”
Other Olympic tweets of interest:
BBC’s James Pearce: “This is what Olympic Lanes were made for.... managed to rush from Olympic Park to judo venue and now waiting for Gibbons to go for gold.”
FoxSports.com’s Jason Whitlock, “Serious question: What day is it? These freaking Olympics have me totally disoriented.”
SI’s Phil Taylor: “Random thought while watching men's all-around: I really should renew my gym membership.”
The Globe & Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin: “CBC staff ecstatic about finally getting good IOC news. Take this to bank: Brian Williams not coming back to CBC after rancourous departure.”
MLB.com’s Mark Bowman: “Best of luck to former Braves and Turner Sports PR czar @greghughesnbcsg and his staff during the remainder of the Olympics.”
Each day during the Summer Games, THE DAILY offers our take on the business performances of some of the people, sponsors, broadcasters and other entities around London.MEDALMEDALIST
GOLD: BRADLEY WIGGINS & GREAT BRITAIN ROWING -- Wiggins, last month’s Tour de France champion, and the British women’s rowing team delivered the country’s first two Gold Medals of these Olympics yesterday, providing a mental lift for a nation that had begun to get pretty frustrated with its lack of success on the medal stand five days into the Games.
SILVER: TICKETING -- London organizers seem to be getting a handle on the Games' many empty seats, and the complaints that accompanied them. Venues have been better filled the last couple days, and there is now concerted calls for the IOC to revamp its entire ticketing operation to avoid similar problems at future Games.
BRONZE: BEATSBYDRE -- Call it ambush marketing or genius at work, but Dr. Dre's "beatsbydre" headphones have crashed the London party thanks to the brand sending Team Great Britain athletes, like Tom Daley and Laura Robson, specially-designed headphones branded withUnion Jack colors that delicately dance around the Olympic marketing rules. IOC, LOCOG and, in particular, official sponsor Panasonic cannot be happy, but you have to admire the creativity.
TIN: BAD BADMINTON PLAY -- Four women's badminton teams -- including the world doubles champion team from China -- were kicked out of the Games yesterday for deliberating trying to lose matches in order to get an easier draw later in the tournament. Somehow, the creator of the Olympic motto "Citius, Altius, Fortius" -- or faster, higher, stronger -- never envisioned this.
SportsBusiness Daily/SportsBusiness Journal has launched a free website exclusively geared to the Summer Games that will feature news, video, blogs and much more from London. See the site today for the following news:
Meanwhile, see today’s issue of SBD Global for the following stories you may have missed: