Published October 29, 2013
NBC is positioned to sell out its first Olympics in more than a decade. NBC Sports Exec VP/Ad Sales Seth Winter said the net's ad inventory is more than 90% sold for the Sochi Games. Winter added, "If inventory paces like it has been, we could sell out. The demand has escalated beyond anything I've experienced." The sales success is a major reversal from the last Winter Olympics. The net still had 30-35% of inventory available leading into the '10 Vancouver Games. The last time it sold 90% of its advertising for a Winter Olympics was for the '06 Turin Games. It sold more than 98% of its inventory for the '02 Salt Lake City Games. Winter said he is concerned NBC Sports may not have "enough inventory to meet the demand in the marketplace" for Sochi and added that selling key categories like beer and technology, which are still unsold, could allow the company to sell out of inventory. He added, "I've never walked into a Games feeling we're this well sold." Winter made similar sell-out predictions before the '08 Beijing Games and '12 London Games, but neither of those events sold out. Winter attributed the sales success for Sochi to demand among ad buyers for the strong ratings that the Olympics deliver over 18 days. He also said NBC's move to divide categories into more refined segments helped sales. He pointed to banking as an example. NBC sold retail, online trading, consumer banking and other categories. It landed deals with TD Ameritrade and Citi. Winter said, "As we see how advertisers are communicating their brand, we try to turn a mirror on that. We're a reflection of how they're seeing the marketplace." He said the USOC's success in adding new partners helped, as well. He pointed to Smucker's, a new partner and a Sochi advertiser, as an example.