SBD/August 9, 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 Wasserman Media Group's efforts to expand its Olympic business, industry insiders discussing branding, ambush marketing in London and Powerade expecting London Games to help it gain U.S. market share on Gatorade.
While many people "believe that the Olympics should be broadcast the way all other big sporting events are broadcast in the U.S. -- live and unrehearsed," former NBC Sports Group Chair Dick Ebersol claims those critics "have it all wrong," according to Joe Posnanski of SPORTS ON EARTH. Ebersol headed NBC's Olympic coverage from '89-'11, and he believes that the games "are not to be treated like other sports." Ebersol, in his only interview during the Games, said, "People talk about how we should treat this like sports. You know, we're getting an 18 rating some nights. Do you know what rating we would get if this was not under the banner of the Olympics? We'd be lucky to get a 1 rating for some of these sports. ... We're in the television business. We're here to make great television." He added "by far the most important part of the Olympics" is storytelling. Ebersol: "It's not enough just to show the Games. We have to give people a reason to care, a reason to be invested." Posnanski noted NBC London Olympics Exec Producer Jim Bell has been "taking a lot of criticism for the network's tape delay and editing." But Ebersol believes the coverage "has been nothing less than extraordinary." He said, "I've been watching the BBC, which is one of the most respected entities in the world, right? Well, they will cut away from races to show a British athlete who is finishing fifth. They openly root for their athletes on the air. It's a different approach, but we have never done that." Ebersol added, "There's a great tradition in American television of professionalism in coverage, and I believe we live up to that tradition." As for the tape-delay controversy, Ebersol said, "If someone wants to watch the Olympics live, they can do that online. That's a very small percentage of people. We've done study after study where we ask people when they want to watch the Olympics. They say 'after dinner.' Every study, I've never seen it less than 80 percent, and it's usually a lot higher than that" (SPORTSONEARTHBLOG.com, 8/8).
THE DEBATE RAGES ON: USA Today's Christine Brennan said NBC is "getting great ratings and that’s terrific for them," but it is "embarrassing for the network of David Brinkley and John Chancellor to not be showing these things live." Brennan: "This is not just entertainment. ... This is significant international news, sports news or otherwise, and to be holding it off for eight hours for the West Coast, that’s just an embarrassment for the great news division of NBC.” She added, “There is something bigger here and that’s called your reputation” ("The J.T. the Brick Show," Fox Sports Radio, 8/9). But the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Tim Goodman writes under the header, "Why I'm Not Complaining About NBC's Olympics Coverage." Goodman: "Do I hate the tape delays? Yes. The editing? Yes. The schmaltzy packages? Sure, sometimes. ... Could NBC be doing better? Hell yes. And if ABC did it, the answer would be hell yes again. CBS, too. Fox, as well. ESPN for sure." Goodman writes, "Soon I might start to complain about people complaining about it. It's tiring. And repetitive. And it will not help. The Olympics will never, ever be broadcast in real time unless the United States government foots the bill and tells PBS to turn the cameras on and go home" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 8/17 issue).
MISSED OPPORTUNITY: The FINANCIAL TIMES' Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson writes under the header "Lessons From Missed Olympic Opportunity." NBC "missed an opportunity to sell season passes to people with no pay-TV contract who would pay to watch on their laptop or iPad." If it "included advertising, this need not cannibalise its core business." This could have been "a chance to get younger customers used to paying for content." NBC will "be able to claim success in the short term, but it is hard to imagine that the next generation has been inspired by its 20th century approach to London 2012" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/9).
NBC is averaging an 18.5 final rating and 32.8 million viewers through the first 12 nights of primetime coverage for the London Games, up 8% and 12%, respectively, from the same period for the '08 Beijing Games. Tuesday's coverage was highlighted by Gold Medal finals for individual gymnastics events, track & field's women's 100-meter hurdles and the second women's beach volleyball semifinal. The net remains on pace for the highest-rated and most-viewed Summer Games since the '96 Atlanta Games. Tuesday night’s coverage finished with a 17.6 rating and 30.1 million viewers, up 8% and 11%, respectively, from the same night in Beijing (NBC).PRIMETIME OLYMPIC RATINGSDayLondonBeijingAthensSydneyAtlanta
Opening CeremonyFri.21.018.814.616.223.6 Night 2Sat.15.813.911.813.117.2 Night 3Sun.19.818.115.414.622.9 Night 4Mon.18.017.616.613.822.9 Night 5Tues.21.820.018.315.527.2 Night 6Wed.17.916.717.314.622.4 Night 7Thurs.21.117.919.314.926.8 Night 8Fri.188.8.131.524.917.9 Night 9Sat.15.917.613.613.319.4 Night 10Sun.17.516.015.816.023.4 Night 11Mon.15.815.816.415.826.4 Night 12Tues.17.616.315.712.421.312-Night Avg.18.517.115.814.622.7
WEDNESDAY OVERNIGHT: NBC earned an 18.6 overnight rating for last night's London Games coverage, which featured Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings winning their third consecutive Gold Medal in women's beach volleyball. Also featured was the finals for the men's 100-meter hurdles, which saw Aries Merritt and Jason Richardson from the U.S. take the Gold and Silver medals, respectively. While figures could change when final numbers are released later today, that overnight is up 3% from the same night in Beijing (THE DAILY).
MILWAUKEE NO LONGER THE BEST: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley wrote after 12 nights, the Milwaukee market “slipped one place to third among 56 metered markets delivering the highest average TV rating" for NBC's primetime coverage. Milwaukee's WTMJ-NBC is averaging a 24.2 rating, behind just Salt Lake City (26.5) and K.C. (24.3) but ahead of Denver (23.9) and Columbus (23.2). The highest-rated night for the Olympics in Milwaukee to date was last Aug. 2, "which had a 30.0 rating or 272,280 households” (JSONLINE.com, 8/8).
ALREADY SELLING FOR SOCHI: NBC Sports Group Exec VP/ Sales & Marketing Seth Winter said that NBC has “quietly sold around $200 million worth of advertising" for its broadcast of the '14 Sochi Games. AD AGE’s Brian Steinberg reports Winter “expects his Sochi sales process -- already underway for a few months -- to gain momentum, thanks to NBCU's ratings performance" in London. Winter said, “The Olympics sales process never goes dormant. There are different levels of activity and different stages." He did not disclose any advertisers citing sponsors' "desire not to divulge marketing strategy too early.” Steinberg notes NBC is “likely to intensify its Sochi efforts in September and into the fourth quarter, when it can call on potential clients with research culled from its current London effort.” Winter said that it “may seek to package 2014 Winter Olympics sales with ad inventory from NBC's projected 2015 telecast of the Super Bowl” (ADAGE.com, 8/9).
SOME PRAISE FOR SEACREST: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER wrote despite the criticism NBC’s Ryan Seacrest has received for his role in the net’s Olympics coverage, a “majority of Americans think he is doing a good job.” A poll conducted by The Hollywood Reporter and pollster Penn Schoen Berland asked 500 viewers “to weigh in on various aspects of the Games coverage.” Results showed that 78% of the viewers "said they are satisfied with the job Seacrest is doing.” NBC’s Dan Patrick and Bob Costas “fared even better, with a 94 percent approval for the former and 92 percent for the latter” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 8/8). In DC, Lisa de Moraes writes Seacrest has been “nicked by critics and tweeters for his lack of sports knowledge, though he does not have a monopoly on that shortage among on-air NBC contributors” (WASHINGTON POST, 8/9).
NBC REVIEWS: The AP’s David Bauder writes the Bronze Medal beach volleyball match between China and Brazil “made for some real drama in the sand, astutely called by NBC's team of Chris Marlowe and Kevin Wong.” The two “pointed out how Brazil's Larissa, when the team was losing badly in the first set, embarrassed her teammate Juliana by twice refusing to set her up for spikes” (AP, 8/9). Bauder also wrote Lewis Johnson is a “real bright spot as a reporter on NBC's track broadcasting team.” His questions “are smart and to the point” and he does “his job and elicits information from the athletes, instead of trying to become part of the moment” (AP, 8/7). In Indianapolis, Bob Kravitz wrote NBC’s Brandi Chastain “has done a fine job with the soccer broadcasts” (INDYSTAR.com, 8/8).
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: In N.Y., Sam Borden notes during the U.S.-Spain women's water polo preliminary-round match last week, NBC “cut to an underwater camera, hoping to show players thrashing for possession.” Instead, the network “gave viewers a brief bit of risqué theater as the American Kami Craig pulled at her opponent’s swimsuit and briefly bared a Spanish player’s breast for all to see.” U.S. water polo player Brenda Villa said, “Everyone likes underwater cameras because you get to see what’s going on, but as players we hate them. Because you’re being grabbed, you’re being exposed underwater, and we don’t want that on TV” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/9).
SILLY SEASON: In Boston, Mark Perigard notes NBC's “Today” show co-anchors Matt Lauer and Al Roker “trained” for Greco-Roman wrestling during yesterday's episode. They took “some clownish bumps in a gym, hit the mat in unitards and then called it off to get beers.” Perigard: “It was a six-minute skit that ran about 10 minutes too long.” But despite the "silliness, the Olympics has given a gold medal boost to 'Today,' which has averaged about 6 million viewers” (BOSTON HERALD, 8/9). CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera is reporting live from London and this morning she said the “Today” show set is “right next door” to where she was broadcasting. Caruso-Cabrera: "You never know what’s going on over there. Sometimes it’s like a three-ring circus because they get every winning athlete every single morning. This morning I’m walking by and there is Shawn Johnson ... teaching bobbies new tricks” (“Squawk Box,” CNBC, 8/9).
THIS IS "TODAY": May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings’ three-peat was a running storyline on this morning’s episode of “Today.” A live interview with the pair took place in the opening hour and was replayed in Hour 3. APRIL ROSS and JEN KESSY, the team that lost the Gold Medal match to May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings, were also interviewed live in the first hour. The opening 60 minutes also included live interviews with track stars Merritt, Richardson and ALLYSON FELIX, and the U.S. women’s gymnastics team. A preview of today’s U.S.-Japan women’s soccer Gold Medal match aired, as did a report on the impact female Olympians are having on the Games. U.S. gymnast GABBY DOUGLAS made a second appearance during the second hour, joining an interview with model LAUREN SCRUGGS, who was injured by a plane propeller. The P&G House, where families of Olympians can relax, was featured. The third hour included live interviews with Medal-winning long jumpers BRITTNEY REESE and JANAY DELOACH, Bronze Medal-winning boxer MARLEN ESPARZA and Gold Medal-winning sprinter SANYA RICHARDS-ROSS (THE DAILY).
TOO MUCH PRIDE: The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Robert Shrimsley writes the BBC “could and should have been less breathlessly partisan" as critics have claimed it has been, but the net was "going to offend someone whatever it did.” While the BBC “enjoys a glowing reputation abroad, at home it is under permanent siege from rightwing politicians and media rivals.” Shrimsley: “Yes, both the BBC and Britain have failed to wear sporting success lightly; but then again, we don’t get that much chance to practise” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/9).
YouTube is no closer to buying sports broadcast rights than it was six months ago, but the Google-owned video service is so enjoying its first live streaming of the Olympics in Asia and Africa that it wants to extend the partnership through '16. YouTube Head of Global Sports Content Claude Ruibal said that the company’s live stream of the Olympic Broadcast Services feed from London had been a success in 64 markets in Asia and Africa. The deal took nearly a year to complete and marks the first time the IOC has partnered with YouTube to stream its international Olympic feed live in select markets. Under terms of the deal, YouTube takes 55% of advertising revenue and gives the other 45% to the IOC. “It was different for them to take on that role and not have someone else be responsible for (the broadcast),” Ruibal said. “I would like to have a longer-term relationship where it’s not just a few months before the event but we can announce it earlier and be more successful finding advertisers. We had success with that but would like more lead time.” Ruibal said that the partnerships with the IOC and NBC, which it is providing with its digital video player for live streaming of the Olympics, has been a good way for YouTube to expand its knowledge as a distributor of live sports. “We want to have more live sports on YouTube,” Ruibal said. “We’re not going to go out and buy rights for English Premier League ... or the Olympics, but if we can partner with the IOC to offer live distribution in markets like Asia and Africa where their broadcasters aren’t going to show 2,000-plus hours, that’s great for us.” Ruibal said YouTube would partner with international sports federations over the next few years to show their world championships live. Doing so would add to a growing list of properties that have shown their events live on YouTube, including the Indian Premier League, Copa America and America’s Cup sailing. The company also hopes to create opportunities for other sports to have VOD content on their own channel.
UNSURE ABOUT EXTENDING NBCU DEAL: Ruibal was unsure if YouTube would renew its deal with NBCUniversal to serve as the video player for its live streaming on NBCOlympics.com during the '14 Sochi or '16 Rio de Janeiro Games, and added that a decision will not be made on that for a while. “It was really good for us at this point of time,” Ruibal said. “I love having the NBC content on our player. We see ourselves as a distributor, (but) with NBC’s business model that’s difficult because they have great distribution deals with cable and satellite distributors. I don’t see that model changing any time soon, so it’s difficult to get live content on YouTube. If that changed, that would be great.” The big primetime ratings NBC is putting up for the London Games have not surprised Ruibal. "I’ve always argued with every broadcaster you meet that (streaming is) not going to cut into your audience,” Ruibal said. “It’s only going to augment it. People spend time on their handheld devices or PCs. If you’re not there, they might not be aware that something is happening.”
IOC President Jacques Rogge yesterday said that London “has delivered a ‘very good Games,’ with athletes, teams and federations delighted with the facilities,” according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. Rogge said that he had “no complaints with what he had seen so far.” Rogge said, "All in all I would say these are very good Games and I am a very happy man." Rogge as of yesterday had visited "22 of the 26 sports with the remainder on his schedule for the final four days.” He said, "There is also the success of the home team and that is very important" (REUTERS, 8/8). In London, Ellen Branagh notes LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe gave a "'heartfelt thank you' to troops who are helping provide security at the Games.” Coe yesterday visited troops, many of whom "have been carrying out different roles at the Olympic Park and ExCeL Centre.” Coe said, "I really genuinely think that when we look back at these Games one of the defining features will be the involvement and the commitment of our armed services. They've discharged their duties with professionalism, with humour, and with grace, and that has really gone noticed in pretty much every corner of this project" (London TELEGRAPH, 8/9).
LINE UP: In London, Josh Loeb notes with “only days remaining Olympic fans are queuing up to get the last tickets of the Games.” Today’s first tickets cost $55-1560 “depending on the event and seat location,” and they “went up for grabs” at 12:00pm local time (London INDEPENDENT, 8/9). Ticket sales for the Paralympics “have surpassed 2 million since the start of the Olympics.” Organizers report that more than “600,000 tickets sold in the past month, taking total sales to 2.1 million and exceeding the previous record of 1.8 million set four years ago.” The Paralympics start on Aug. 29 (AP, 8/8).
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT: In London, Ashling O’Connor notes U.K. government officials “have been urged to seize a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ and use the euphoria generated by the Olympics to tackle a host of social problems before it is too late.” Sports organizations, businesses and charities yesterday “called for action after Sir Matthew Pinsent, the four-times Olympic rowing champion, said that Britain must avoid the fate of Australia, which failed to capitalise on the enthusiasm of the 2000 Sydney Games.” The warnings “came amid fears that government funding will be severely reduced for athletes preparing for Rio 2016” (LONDON TIMES, 8/9).
The U.S. last night had “one of the best nights in its Olympics track and field history,” as it took home seven of the total 12 medals available, according to Barry Svrluga of the WASHINGTON POST. Allyson Felix’ victory in the women’s 200 meters was the “centerpiece of a night that also brought gold for Brittney Reese in the women’s long jump and Aries Merritt in the men’s 110-meter hurdles.” And the Americans “merely beat other Americans, because Carmelita Jeter took bronze behind Felix; Janay DeLoach did the same behind Reese; and Jason Richardson followed Merritt to the line for silver.” With three days remaining, Americans “already have 20 medals at Olympic Stadium, 11 from the women alone.” That total is “a bigger haul for the U.S. women’s track and field team in any Olympics other than 1984, which was diluted by the Soviet-led boycott” (WASHINGTON POST, 8/9). USA TODAY's David Leon Moore noted it was the "biggest one-night medal haul" for USA Track & Field since the '92 Barcelona Games. Merritt said, "Everyone on this team works really hard and the fruits of our labor are finally being shown here" (USA TODAY, 8/9). In N.Y., Christopher Clarey writes there was “no doubt about which nation prevailed” last night. Former USATF CEO Doug Logan “set the 30-medal goal for London before being dismissed,” and his replacement, Max Siegel, has “endorsed it.” Although the goal is “far from a sure thing, it is certainly within range” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/9). ESPN's Jackie MacMullan wrote under the header, "U.S. Track Team Restores Order." Last night's results are a "huge boost for an often maligned group of athletes whose disappointment in Beijing lingered for years, not months." Richardson said, "We've got a lot to be excited about" (ESPN.com, 8/8).
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? In N.Y., Andrew Das notes while the Olympic decathlon “boasts some of the top all-around athletes in the world, its drawn-out schedule and its complicated scoring system seem to give it a low profile even in Olympic years.” Even with the “help of tape delay, NBC announcers would struggle to explain to viewers why a 100-meter time of 10.3 seconds would be worth 1,023 points, but a 10.5 counts for only 975.” U.S. decathlete Ashton Eaton, who is the “clear favorite to win” the Gold Medal today, said, “I don’t think the fans really understand how it works. But I think they’re learning, because pretty close to an entire stadium was staying today for the decathlon shot-put, which isn’t too exciting” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/9).
REWORK THE FORMULA: The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Roger Blitz writes the Games “mask the generally impoverished state of athletics.” Set aside its “showpiece global events and what is left is a sport struggling for sponsors and broadcasters, participants and a grassroots structure.” One solution would be to “rethink track and field along the lines of the short-format concepts that have revived interest in cricket and rugby” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/9).
U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones came in fourth in Tuesday's 100-meter final and that “could certainly affect her future marketability,” but she “deserved every single dime of the marketing dollars she received before that race started,” according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. McDonald's, Asics and Red Bull, “all of whom sponsored Jones, aren't in the business of throwing away their money.” They are in the business “of getting your attention and selling food, shoes and drinks.” Rovell: “Admit it, man or woman, Jones made you look up at the TV or at a magazine ad” (ESPN.com, 8/8). The Miami Herald’s Israel Gutierrez said, “I don’t think any Olympic athlete who gets commercial success as a result of whatever they did should be knocked for it because it’s so rare.” He added, “There is sort of a sexist element to this whole thing because look at Ryan Lochte, who pumped himself up, was on the cover of every magazine shirtless. Nobody’s saying he let down and he didn’t deserve all that attention” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 8/8).
INSTANT GRATIFICATION: Visa last night debuted two new commercials congratulating three U.S. Gold Medalists for their wins earlier in the day. Both spots featured voiceover work from actor Morgan Freeman, who said of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, “After winning Gold in ’04 and ’08, Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor retired from volleyball to enjoy life off the court.” The spot displayed images of the two in action on the beach, and Freeman added, “But something kept calling them back for one more win.” The thing “calling them back” was the roar of the crowd in the ad, and Freeman said, “Congratulations Kerri and Misty on your third Olympic Gold Medal." A second spot dedicated to sprinter Allyson Felix was similar in tone, with video and images of Felix in action and Freeman saying, “Allyson Felix missed Gold by thirteen-hundredths of a second in ’04, eighteen-hundredths in ’08 and zero-hundredths today. Congratulations Allyson on your first individual Olympic Gold Medal" (THE DAILY).
RELISHING THE FAME: In Des Moines, Mark Emmert notes Gold Medal-winning gymnast Gabby Douglas now “can enjoy the benefits of all that sweat and success.” Sheryl Shade, Douglas' agent, said that she has been “contacted by numerous TV shows, from Oprah Winfrey to Chelsea Handler, looking to book the 16-year-old Olympic champion.” The itinerary for Douglas “still needs to be sorted out, but it’s clear that endorsement opportunities and publicity will consume her as soon as she lands in America.” Douglas said, “Everyone says it’s not going to hit me until I go home and see all these parades, posters, pictures of me. They said it’s going to be really crazy, but just enjoy it because it’s going to go by so fast. You’ve got to seize the moment. I’m so ready for it” (DES MOINES REGISTER, 8/9). Douglas is on the cover of the latest issue of People magazine, and she said, "The photographers are telling me, ‘When you land it’s going to be all over the newsstands.’ So seeing my face on the cover of People magazine is definitely exciting” (“Today,” NBC, 8/9). Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, Tom Mahon notes Kellogg’s gave the U.S. women’s gymnastics team a “sneak peak of the Corn Flakes box that will sport their images,” while P&G “created an ad congratulating them.” Mahon: “Life is good for the girls who combined to win five medals, including three golds. And, they are just beginning to realize what an impact their success will have on them” (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 8/9).
WATCH IT, BUDDY: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Scott Roxborough reported Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake has “fallen foul of the Olympic branding police after he wore a Richard Mille wristwatch” during his Silver Medal-winning run in the 100-meter final Sunday. The IOC said that it will “look into reports that Blake's watch might violate sponsorship rules that ban athletes from brandishing the logos of companies that are not official Olympic sponsors.” Blake is only the latest athlete at the Games “to catch the attention of the IOC's sponsorship officials.” The IOC required U.S. runner Nick Symmonds "to use white tape to cover up a temporary tattoo on his left arm bearing the Twitter handle of one of his sponsors” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 8/8).
THE DALEY SHOW: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Cassell Bryan-Low cites critics as saying that British diver Tom Daley “has overdone it on the self-promotion and he's failed to medal in his first competition last week.” Daley is not “shy about pushing his personal brand,” and he has “attracted sponsors, including sportswear company Adidas and the auto maker Mini.” The exposure has prompted "a debate about the amount of effort Daley's expending on publicity versus training.” He will dive again this weekend in the men's 10-meter platform competition (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/9).
IOC TOP sponsor GE has sold two gas turbines to be used to power the '14 Sochi Games, and the company is optimistic that sales from Sochi and the '16 Rio Olympics will rival the more than $1B in sales it amassed over the last four Olympics. GE Dir Olympic Marketing & Sports Programs Chris Katsuleres said, "Both markets are key growth areas. We believe there are real opportunities." GE in China was able to do about $500M in sales as a result of the '08 Beijing Games. A return to two more developing countries -- Brazil and Russia -- could offer similar sales success. GE has used its Olympic sponsorship to make its energy, health care and water treatment products the first choice for Olympic host cities looking to improve their infrastructure before hosting a Games. It sees opportunities to sell products from all three areas in Sochi and Rio. Both cities are undertaking major infrastructure projects ahead of the Olympics. Russia is building a new city along the coast to host the '14 Games, and Rio is planning to overhaul its transportation system before the '16 Olympics. Katsuleres said the sales team got a late start in Sochi, but the team in Rio has plenty of time to work with organizers and government officials to determine what products they need. Katsuleres: "We're getting a sense of the opportunity in Pyeongchang (host of the '18 Winter Games) now, too” (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).
REVERSAL OF FORTUNE: AD AGE’s Brian Steinberg cited data from a YouGov BrandIndex survey that noted BP has seen "negative perceptions of its brand reversed during the first part of the Olympics." YouGov asked respondents whether they had heard heard anything about a brand over a select two week period, whether through advertising, news or word of mouth, and then asked whether it was positive or negative information. BP saw its score go from a negative 5.9 in the week prior to the Olympics to a positive 2.6 during the first week of the games. Visa was the only other brand that saw its perception rise more during the time period (ADAGE.com, 8/8).
BRANDWEEK 1 PRIOR
Visa8.222.714.5 BP-184.108.40.206 Acer220.127.116.11 Coca-Cola20.5243.5 McDonald's13.916.12.3 Heineken11.213.22 Panasonic10.211.81.6 adidas18.104.22.168 Samsung2424.80.8 British Airways44.10.1 GE11.89.4-2.4 Holiday Inn15.812.6-3.2 BMW20.216.2-4
The Holland Heineken House in London has “become one of the biggest draws on the Olympic party circuit,” and it “prides itself on being the most boisterous of dozens of national hospitality houses set up at London landmarks for the duration of the Games,” according to Davies & Addley of the GUARDIAN. The hospitality venues, “mostly established by individual countries' national Olympic committees (NOCs), are designed to showcase those countries and provide a base for the visiting teams.” But there is “a world of difference between Ireland's low-key hangout in a north London pub and Brazil's contemporary art at Somerset House, or, for instance, the hi-tech branding exercise that is the Sochi 2014 pavilion and the laid back charm of Africa Village.” Some countries, “such as Georgia, decided to eschew the limelight, keeping their NOC houses private and accessible only to delegates and special invitees.” Others, such as Serbia, have “kept the proceedings within their own embassies, thereby minimising cost.” The USA House, in the Royal College of Art, “operates on a high-security, invitation-only basis for anyone not an athlete, sponsor, official or staff member of the US team.” Members of the public “are able to access a shop, providing they are US citizens and have ID to prove it.” The massive Sochi.Park pavilion in Kensington Gardens “is a paean -- complete with ice rink -- to the Black Sea host city of the next winter Olympics, while the sophisticated Casa Brasil endeavours to use London 2012 as a publicity platform for Rio 2016.” With these aims in mind, it is “perhaps unsurprising that many NOCs have been anything but stingy with their hospitality houses, scrapping over prestigious venues such as Somerset House and giving the London events industry a huge cash injection” (GUARDIAN, 8/8). Meanwhile, up to 700 people yesterday were "evacuated from New Zealand's Olympics hospitality house after a fire." A gas canister "being used for a barbecue exploded" at the venue dubbed Kiwi House (PA, 8/8).
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: The P&G House was featured on this morning’s episode of NBC’s “Today,” with NBC’s Jenna Bush Hager noted it has become a "home away from home for the families of the 10,000 competing athletes during the Games.” Bush Hager was given a tour of the house by Roslyn Eaton, mother of U.S. decathlete Ashton Eaton. Bush Hager said, “How awesome is it that there’s a place like this that supports the moms.” Rosalyn Eaton said it is an "amazing place where we can get our laundry done and eat.” Bush Hager said the meals provided there take a "financial strain off the Olympic experience.” There also is a Gillette-sponsored “Mancave for dads, Team USA viewing party and even birthday celebrations.” Hager Bush: “A place of support for the families who have given so much” ("Today,” NBC, 8/9).
The Olympic Park, designed by British architect Kevin Owens, "is the greatest triumph" of the London Games, according to Philip Hersh of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Never has a mix of "functional space, greenery and eight sports venues, from the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium to the 6,000-seat velodrome, been carried out so effectively." The eight sponsor pavilions spread around the park "seem an inviting addition rather than an intrusion, none more so than the whimsical mirrored face of the BP building." Owens said, "We know this park will go through quiet periods. We needed to create a space that still feels vibrant when there are only 50 people in it." Hersh writes it can be "easy to get carried away about how brilliantly that goal seems to have been achieved. The test begins next year, when venues will be used intermittently for large events and the park begins to serve its primary purpose as a recreational and residential space for a once blighted area of East London" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/9). In a special to the FINANCIAL TIMES, former IOC Marketing & Broadcast Rights Dir Michael Payne writes, "One of the biggest successes of London 2012 has been the fantastic atmosphere." Perhaps it "should not be surprising that the beach volleyball on Horse Guards is lively and noisy." But other venues "from the rowing at Eton Dorney to tennis at Wimbledon have been equally loud." More than "any past hosts, London has focused on maximising the spectator experience." Each venue "has its own producer with the freedom to have fun while respecting the sport" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/9). CSNBAYAREA.com's Ann Killion wrote the beach volleyball venue at Horse Guards Parade "is the most spectacular of the Olympics." It has "been the party venue, with beer lines snaking around the outside of the stadium" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 8/8).
LIKE SAND THROUGH THE HOUR GLASS: In London, Jerome Taylor notes sand from the beach volleyball venue "will be used to build 36 new courts" in and around the greater London area over the coming months "as part of an attempt to build a lasting legacy that will propel Britain towards the next Olympics in Rio." British Olympic officials said that funding "is needed to make sure that the country's newfound love for the sport ... is capitalised on in the aftermath of the games." The new courts "are being built primarily within the London area under a deal agreed with LOCOG" (London INDEPENDENT, 8/9).
HER NAME IS RIO: In London, Paul Newman notes organizers for the '16 Rio de Janeiro Games "have brought 152 observers who are aiming to look and learn from London's example." There are also 51 government officials "studying issues like security." Nearly half the venues to be used in Rio "are existing facilities, while another quarter will be temporary structures." The remaining venues will be new. Construction work in the Olympic Park, "which does not include the main Joao Havelange and Maracana Stadiums, began last month, while builders will move into the last of the four main Olympic clusters at Deodoro next year." The official line on preparations for '16 is that "everything is in good order." However, others "are not so sure." A Brazilian journalist said, “Only the authorities say they are all set for 2016. The people know that we have much to do both in terms of our athletes’ preparations and building facilities" (London INDEPENDENT, 8/9).
REUTERS' Mike Collett-White wrote as Sunday’s Closing Ceremony “looms into view,” artistic director Kim Gavin said that fans should “expect everything" from British composer EDWARD ELGAR to Grammy winner ADELE. The final act of the Games “may not be as spectacular” as the July 27 Opening Ceremony, but it will “feature some of the biggest names in British music and is likely to draw a global audience running in the hundreds of millions.” Organizers yesterday “were silent ... about who would perform and what the ceremony would entail, although, once again, there has been no shortage of leaks, hints and speculation.” Already “confirmed to appear is GEORGE MICHAEL, who spilled the beans via Twitter.” British singer ED SHEERAN recently said that he was “down to sing with PINK FLOYD ... prompting a swift denial from the band.” MUSE, who “composed and performed the official song for the Games ‘Survival,’ will perform the track at the ceremony, while THE WHO, MADNESS, TAKE THAT and the SPICE GIRLS are all rumoured to be taking part” (REUTERS, 8/8).
AFTER THE GAMES: Gold Medal-winning U.S. swimmer RYAN LOCHTE's agent ERIKA WRIGHT said that the swimmer “has received offers to create a fashion line, has been asked by WILL FERRELL to make a Funny or Die video and has multiple TV offers on the table.” Wright said, “Two different reality show concepts have been offered and one additional is being discussed.” Lochte also told reporters in London that he "would be open to appearing on" ABC's "Dancing With the Stars” (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 8/17 issue). Several Olympians have participated on "DWTS," including SHAWN JOHNSON, KRISTI YAMAGUCHI, APOLO ANTON OHNO and NATALIE COUGHLIN, and Gold Medal-winning U.S. swimmer MICHAEL PHELPS said of "DWTS," “I know everyone who’s done it -- I’ve talk to Apolo and Natalie about it, and they said they’ve enjoyed it and had a blast. I won’t say I’m ruling anything out, who knows?” (N.Y. POST, 8/9).
ON SOLID GROUND? USA TODAY's Nicole Auerbach reported shortly after U.S. beach volleyball players KERRI WALSH JENNINGS and MISTY MAY-TREANOR won the Gold Medal yesterday, "the ground buckled" at Horse Guards Palace. A temporary floor, "put in place as part of the area where reporters interview athletes after competition, collapsed about 1 1/2 feet." Dozens of reporters "fell with it, causing a bit of a commotion" (USA TODAY, 8/9).
CHART TOPPER: "American Idol" winner PHILLIP PHILLIPS’ debut single “Home” is the “top-selling download this week in the U.S., leading the tally with 228,000 purchases.” The song has become the “unofficial theme song for women’s gymnastics,” and it has been heard “numerous times over the last 12 days” in various NBC promos (LATIMES.com, 8/8). BILLBOARD's Keith Caulfield noted the song tops this Digital Songs chart this week "all thanks to the Olympics." The song ranked No. 47 week and has seen sales jump 472%. The song also is at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart after spending last week at No. 84 (BILLBOARD.com, 8/8).
A DIFFERENT PLATFORM: U.S. diver BRITTANY VIOLA, the daughter of former MLBer FRANK VIOLA, finished 14th in the 10-meter platform preliminaries and is “among 18 divers who advanced to” the semifinals. Frank Viola said, “It’s a lot easier going out for Game 7 knowing you have the ball in your hand and you’re in control. In the stands, you’re a parent and have no control” (AP, 8/9).
MONEY PERFORMANCES: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Victoria Black examined the payout of several countries for medal winners and notes the USOC pays Gold Medal winners $25,000, $15,000 to those who earn Silver and $10,000 for Bronze. Singapore is the “world leader in Olympic payouts” as it gives "far more, promising its champions a whopping $800,000.” Italy is “nearly as generous, giving gold winners up to $182,000.” In China, rewards “do not stop at cash” as local governments “give everything from apartments to luxury cars.” Great Britain is awarding “no prize money to its medalists, but it will put their faces on Royal Mail stamps” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 8/8).
While the #NBCFail chatter has slowed down over the course of the London Games, many in the media today are taking to Twitter to offer various criticisms of NBC's Olympics coverage. N.Y. Times’ Bill Carter wrote, “Think NBC didn't have bias 4 treanor-jennings in all US v-ball final? Chek announcer call:’Misty’+’Kerry’ vs. ‘Ross’+’Kressy’-1st-name basis.” Grantland.com’s Sebastian Pruiti tweeted, “The reading of the tweets by the studio hosts might be the worst thing on NBC's broadcast.” NPR’s Peter Sagal posted, “Hey, NBC: If the Taekwando guys agree to wear bikinis, will you let us watch them?” Deadspin’s Timothy Burke: “NBC SN is running an SI feature on an open-water swimmer while the open-water swimming competition IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.”
Other Olympic tweets of interest:
The Guardian’s Marina Hyde: “Still, very much enjoying NBC’s McDonalds-sponsored medal table.”
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman: “Giving a gold medal performance in london is @MikeVacc from the ny post.”
BBC’s James Pearce: “Hospitality centre for African nations competing in Olympics has had to close because of unpaid debts.”
L.A.Times’ Diane Pucin: “Massive crowd support for USA women at Earls Court. And the place is packed.”
SI’s Grant Wahl: “No major global women's soccer tournaments for 3 years after today. USA-Canada challenge series would be a good idea after Olympic drama.”
Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski: “Instense sun in Olympic Stadium results in a first for me: Seeing a shirtless dude working on press row. (Broadcast, naturally).”
SI’s Holly Anderson: “Dressage is the best. I'm sorry. I just love that it's possible to be an Olympic gold medal-winnign horse dancer.”
Blogger Awful Announcing: “Wrestling is so hardcore they have a challenge brick and not a challenge flag.”
Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde: “Most interesting site in London: Worldwide Wes emerging from the basketball venue wearing Team USA sweat suit, same one the athletes get.”
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.
GOLD: TITLE IX -- The U.S. women's soccer team goes for Gold Thursday at the same time the U.S. women's basketball team plays for a spot in the Gold Medal game. America's female beach volleyball players swept their medals yesterday, and the U.S. women's swim team had its best performance since '84. Throw in several medals already won by the U.S. women in track and field, and it is by no means a stretch to say the 40th anniversary of Title IX has actually been its golden year.
SILVER: HOOPSTERS ON A TRAIN -- Like anyone else heading home after a late night at work, the U.S. men's basketball team simply took the Javelin train home following its victory over Argentina on Monday night. Supposedly, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James even shared Twizzlers with some of the other riders. Maybe it was a photo opportunity, maybe it was just for fun, but it is the latest example of the NBA stars being inclusive in these Games instead of exclusive. They have mingled in the Athletes Village, cheered on U.S. athletes in other events around London and, from all appearances, truly enjoyed the Olympic experience.
BRONZE: BEACH VOLLEYBALL -- Not since '96, the year beach volleyball was introduced to the Olympics, have two teams from the same country faced off for the gold medal. But that is what happened yesterday, with Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings facing off against April Ross and Jen Kessy. That came one day after Hilton announced that it will hold a U.S.-China beach volleyball exhibition to be shown on NBC and China TV in the fall. In terms of its pecking order on the U.S. Olympic platform, beach volleyball continues to grow.
TIN: USA BOXING -- The U.S. came away with no medals for the first time in Olympic boxing history. At least, none for the men. The first-time female program is going to save USA Boxing from getting a total goose egg in London. USA Boxing has been chasing its tail for years, both competitively and financially. The organization spent the last four years getting its financial house in order. Now it is clear it needs to spend the next four getting its act together in the ring before the sport becomes even more of an afterthought in the U.S.
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:
BSkyB Wins U.K. Appeal On Sports Channels Prices EU Regulators Widen Aid Probe Into German F1 Grand Prix Track Germany's RWE Inks 10-Year Naming-Rights Deal For Stadium Essen Honda Becomes Main Sponsor Of Vierschanzentournee Ski Jumping Event