SBJ/May 28 - June 3, 2001/Media

NBC's affiliates more than halfway up the mountain to Games goal

NBC's 13 owned-and-operated stations, offering local advertising time on the network's broadcasts of the 2002 Winter Olympics, is "a little over 60 percent to our sales goal of $121 million," said Gene Pizzolato, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the group.

Among the national advertisers that have secured local Olympics ad deals with NBC-owned stations are Samsung, Dunkin' Donuts, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, General Motors, Toyota, General Electric, Sprint and Visa. Each bought local ad time on "a good portion of the markets," Pizzolato said. All eight advertisers had secured inventory on NBC-owned stations for the 2000 Summer Games.

The 13 markets are New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Philadelphia; Washington; Dallas/Fort Worth; Miami; San Diego; Hartford, Conn.; Raleigh/Durham; Columbus; Birmingham, Ala.; and Providence, R.I.

Set for Feb. 8-24, the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City will get under way in less than nine months.

Pizzolato said the sales pace is slightly behind that for the 2000 Games in Sydney. Clearly, the downturn in the economy has been a factor. Pizzolato said he is comfortable with the pace, however, in part because "a lot of people are talking to us that haven't looked in our direction in the past." Talks are taking place with companies in such ad categories as import automotive, fast food, retail, financial services and technology.

Another marketplace factor that could generate Olympics sales for NBC-owned stations is the approaching prime-time "upfront" marketplace, during which advertisers secure national commercial time on the broadcast networks for the coming season. The "upfront" is set to break soon, and it's likely that some advertisers, looking to do national Olympics deals with NBC, will consider supplementing their buys with local Olympics inventory in key markets.

Meanwhile, several undisclosed local advertisers, including energy companies, hospitals, casinos, furniture marketers and grocery chains, also have bought Olympics ad time on NBC-owned stations.

 FIRST AND 10, DO IT AGAIN? Sources say NBC Sports is talking to Sportvision Inc. about using the New York City-based media technology company's "1st & Ten" virtual first-down line on the network's Notre Dame football broadcasts this season.

  NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: Mary Carillo will join the on-air crew of HBO Sports' "Inside the NFL" series this season, serving as reporter for the show's weekly "cover story" feature.

"Inside the NFL," whose on-air talent includes Len Dawson, Nick Buoniconti, Dan Marino, Cris Collinsworth and Jerry Glanville, is set to kick off its 25th season Sept. 13.

  WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS: Innovative Sports Marketing has secured U.S. television rights to a pair of FIFA 2002 World Cup qualifying matches next month: Greece vs. Albania on Saturday and Costa Rica vs. Jamaica on June 20.

Hoboken, N.J.-based ISM has cut distribution deals with DirecTV, Dish Network, TVN and Time Warner Cable in New York City for the Greece-Albania match, set to begin at 2 p.m. ET. For Costa Rica vs. Jamaica, scheduled to start at 10 p.m. ET, ISM has signed deals with DirecTV and Dish Network. Both matches also will air on closed-circuit TV.

ISM bought rights to Greece-Albania from Octagon CSI and to Costa Rica-Jamaica from Inter/Forever Sports.

  PREAKNESS NUMBERS: NBC Sports delivered a 6.4 household ratings average for the "race segment" (5:30 to 6:39 p.m. ET) of its May 19 coverage of the Preakness Stakes. That's 56 percent above the 4.1 average that last year's Preakness race segment generated on ABC. It's not an apples-to-apples comparison, however, because ABC's broadcast ran earlier in the day, from 4:59 to 6 p.m. ET.

For its full 2001 Preakness coverage, which ran from 5 to 6:39 p.m. ET, NBC scored a 6.0 overnight household ratings average, the highest overnight rating for a Preakness since 1990. That year, ABC generated a 7.8 overnight average.

Last year, ABC scored a 4.6 overnight average for its full Preakness telecast, 23 percent below NBC's number. ABC's Preakness coverage aired from 4:30 to 6 p.m. ET.

The national household rating for NBC's full Preakness coverage was not available at press time.

  TRACK WEBCAST: TWI Interactive, in association with and Apple, was set to produce a live video Webcast of the Nike Prefontaine Classic from 4 to 5 p.m. ET Sunday. In addition to the Webcast, Fox Sports Net was to provide coverage of the track and field event Sunday from 3 to 4 p.m. ET.

  AUDIO WEBCAST: The Schaumburg (Ill.) Flyers, a minor league baseball franchise, have teamed with Chicago-based TeamWorks Media to broadcast all of their games this season exclusively on

The audio Webcasts started last Thursday, when the Flyers, based in suburban Chicago, began their 90-game season.

Last season the team, a member of the independent Northern League that is not affiliated with a Major League Baseball franchise, had its games aired on WAUR-AM in Naperville, Ill. After a recent ownership change at the station, however, a deal to broadcast Flyers games this season could not be reached.

Langdon Brockinton can be reached at

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