August 9, 2012 09:04 AM
NYRR CEO Mary Wittenberg, shown in 2011, is attending her fourth Olympics
SHANA WITTENWYLER PHOTO
■ What do you expect viewership for the marathon to be on NBC?
WITTENBERG: It’s 6 a.m. on the East coast and 3 a.m. on the West. As you know, the Olympic numbers have been sky high. NBC is doing a phenomenal job. It was the right decision, with so much live streaming, to package the evening show and have a global viewing audience at one time. People who are diehards and interested in one sport can find it and go deep. It’s been smart. We’ll see if the audience carries over to 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.
■ What will the Olympics do for track and field?
WITTENBERG: I’m hopeful (Jessica Ennis’ win, Greg Rutherford’s long jump, Mo Farah’s win, Galen Rupp’s silver) reignited the sport of track and field beyond road running. Athletics is running, jumping and throwing. It was heptathlon, the long jump and the crowning moment of (Farah) winning with an impossible weight on his shoulders. It was a message of, “If you train right, you can win, no matter where you’re from.”
■ How would you describe the atmosphere for track and field at Olympic Stadium?
WITTENBERG: For Mo (Farah’s) and Rupp’s last lap (Saturday night), that stadium erupted. It was a crescendo of an evening of high points. You could not hear yourself think. It was almost so noisy you went white. It was a non-stop roar for that last lap. I’m trying to think of what I could compare it to watching. Maybe the Women’s World Cup at the Rose Bowl and the USA’s final goal. That kind of noise. I think it may have ignited track and field’s rebirth.
■ What about in the U.S.? What will it take for it to catch back on there?
WITTENBERG: These recent articles giving track and field a hard time are phenomenal because we’re going to look back in five years and say, “That was another turning point.” Ten years ago we had a turning point in distance running. We were at the bottom of the bottom in the United States. We couldn’t even put an Olympic team together. When we scrapped bottom, it was a moment for our sport to rally together. We said, “This is unacceptable. We have to support our athletes.” We found a way to do it. We know the sport of track and field is not dead. We know we have great athletes coming along. We know there are great companies supporting it like Nike, Brooks, Asics, New Balance. We know what’s coming.
■ What companies are doing a good job with their sponsorship here?
WITTENBERG: Samsung. You see their products in all their advertisements. Coke, when you’re out at the stadium, is doing a nice job with the street teams and when you go to Stratford station, one world beat, tying the music and sports together.
August 8, 2012 04:59 PM
Claude Ruibal, YouTube head of sports content, 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 International Olympic Committee has partnered with YouTube to stream its international Olympic feed live in select markets.
Under terms of the deal, YouTube takes 55 percent of advertising revenue and gives the other 45 percent to the International Olympic Committee.
“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 rights 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 its 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 video-on-demand content on their own channel.
Ruibal was unsure if YouTube would renew its deal with NBC Universal to serve as the video player for its live streaming on NBCOlympics.com during the 2014 or 2016 Games, and added that a decision won’t 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, prime-time ratings NBC is putting up for the London Olympics haven’t surprised Ruibal. The network is streaming every event live for the first time during a Summer Games.
“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.”
August 8, 2012 03:46 PM
GE has sold two gas turbines to be used to power the Sochi Games, and the company is optimistic that sales from the 2014 and 2016 Olympics will compare favorably with the more than $1 billion in sales it amassed over the last four Olympics.
“Both markets are key growth areas,” said Chris Katsuleres, director of Olympic marketing and sports programs at GE. “We believe there are real opportunities.”In China, GE was able to do about $700 million in sales as a result of the Beijing Games. A return to two more developing countries — Brazil and Russia — could offer similar sales success. GE set up sales teams in Sochi and Rio after it decided to renew its International Olympic Committee sponsorship a little over a year ago.
The company has been a member of the IOC’s The Olympic Partner (TOP) program since 2005, a deal that costs approximately $100 million over four years. It 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, Katsuleres said. Both cities are undertaking major infrastructure projects ahead of the Olympics. Russia is building a new city along the coast to host the 2014 Olympics, and Rio is planning to overhaul its transportation system before the 2016 Olympics.
Katsuleres said he believes GE can sell more energy products, like the biogas engines powering London’s Olympic Park, health care products like its CT scanners, and water treatment solutions.
He 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.
“We’re getting a sense of the opportunity in Pyeongchang (host of the 2018 Winter Games) now, too,” Katsuleres said.
GE is hosting fewer guests during the London Games than it did in Beijing. The company hosted close to 2,500 guests during the 2008 Olympics. It’s only hosting around 1,000 guests in London.
Katsuleres expects that number to increase back to Beijing levels during the Rio Games because it’s a market that many people haven’t visited.
“Just like China, there will be a lot of anticipation for those Games and that will drive demand for us,” Katsuleres said.
August 8, 2012 01:53 PM
Monday night’s telecast finished with a 15.8 rating and 26.6 million viewers for coverage featuring the men’s 400-meter final, women’s 400-meter hurdles final and women’s uneven bars final, tying the first Saturday of these Games for the lowest-rated night of coverage from London. However, the rating is flat compared to the same night in Beijing, after overnight figures originally had the night down. Viewership is up 1 percent from 26.4 million viewers.
NBC Sports Network enjoys biggest day ever
NBC Sports Network saw its most-viewed day ever on Monday with 956,000 viewers, fueled by the U.S. men’s basketball game against Argentina and the U.S. women’s soccer semifinal match against Canada.
For Olympic coverage from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network averaged 1.2 million viewers, while the back-to-back Team USA games from 2:45-7 p.m. averaged 3.1 million viewers.
The U.S.-Canada soccer match averaged 2.9 million viewers from 2:45-5:30 p.m. The match peaked with 3.8 million viewers in the 5-5:30 p.m. window as U.S. star Alex Morgan scored the game-winning goal with just seconds left in extra time. That peak figure marked the network’s most-viewed half-hour of the Olympics to date.
The U.S.-Argentina men’s basketball game averaged 3.3 million viewers from 5:30-7 p.m.
August 8, 2012 10:50 AM
NBC earned a 19.6 overnight rating for Tuesday night’s prime-time Olympic coverage, which featured U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman winning two medals in individual competition, the women’s beach volleyball semifinals and track and field’s 100-meter hurdles, a race that featured three Americans, including Lolo Jones. While figures are subject to change when national numbers are released later today, that overnight is up 3 percent compared to the same night in Beijing.
August 8, 2012 10:17 AM
Mickle (left) and Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch
Over cans of Murphy’s Irish Stout and Pringles, they talked about some of the media stories around these Games.
■ How has the BBC’s coverage differed from NBC’s?
■ Why have NBC’s ratings been so high, and what can the network expect from ratings in Rio?
■ And what athletes will be the focus of NBC’s marketing for the 2016 Games.
August 8, 2012 09:59 AM
Topps produced 653,848 total packs of Olympics cards, featuring U.S. Summer Olympic athletes like Michael Phelps and Lolo Jones. The cards sold out before the Games even started, O’Hara said. They were available for $3 per pack in stores like Wal-Mart, Target and various collectors’ stores.
“They were more popular than we expected,” O’Hara said. “We definitely are looking forward to doing this again.”
O’Hara has a special connection to the Olympics. His dad, Michael, was a volleyball player who competed in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. O’Hara attended the London Games with his father.
August 8, 2012 08:59 AM
With the London Games past the halfway point, the popularity of the Olympics in the host country becomes evident when analyzing Team Great Britain on social media platforms.
The combined number of official Facebook likes and Twitter followers for the British Olympic Federation has increased more than 1 million in the first 11 days of competition. That number eclipses all other countries (see chart below); only the United States is close with a combined 369,834 additions, although it retains its position as the most popular Olympic country on those platforms.Another interesting trend to follow is the popularity of the teams of Oceania, as both Australia and New Zealand show major increases in relation to their numbers pre-Olympics.
On a worldwide scale, the true impact of the London Games on social media can be seen by the enormous million-plus additions that the official pages/feeds of the Olympics and London Games have seen.
Listed below are combined Facebook likes and Twitter followers for the official pages/feeds of the most popular countries (Olympic committees) on the day of the opening ceremony on July 27 compared to Tuesday, Aug. 7.
July 27 July 27 July 27 August 7 August 7 August 7 OVERALL OVERALL TOTAL
Olympics 3,016,453 1,131,462 4,147,915 3,580,475 1,578,688 5,159,163 1,011,248 London 2012 791,695 949,284 1,740,979 1,345,301 1,521,838 2,867,139 1,126,160 OVERALL OVERALL TOTAL
United States 2,186,215 98,936 2,285,151 2,371,787 283,198 2,654,985 369,834 Great Britain 88,032 224,823 312,855 755,918 574,493 1,330,411 1,017,556 Canada 184,744 18,217 202,961 209,311 36,402 245,713 42,752 Australia 39,838 15,917 55,755 105,913 35,987 141,900 86,145 New Zealand 20,474 10,603 31,077 97,643 17,371 115,014 83,937 France 30,917 4,577 35,494 56,858 11,444 68,302 32,808 Spain 31,175 4,760 35,935 36,408 13,136 49,544 13,609 Switzerland 33,488 4,683 38,171 37,430 6,337 43,767 5,596 Germany 13,171 425 13,596 28,514 4,800 33,314 19,718 Brazil 17,674 4,846 22,520 23,396 7,470 30,866 8,346 Colombia 8,852 5,044 13,896 11,683 17,384 29,067 15,171 Czech Republic 17,263 0 17,263 27,401 0 27,401 10,138 Mexico 15,636 1,464 17,100 21,246 2,941 24,187 7,087 Netherlands 1,485 15,390 16,875 2,405 21,340 23,745 6,870 Serbia 16,424 738 17,162 21,121 1,613 22,734 5,572
August 7, 2012 07:00 PM
The company on Wednesday said that travelers from the U.S. spent $91 million, more than any other country. Japan ($47.4 million) and France ($44.5 million) spent the second and third most, respectively (see chart, below). Visa cardholders from Russia increased their travel spend by more than 30 percent in the second week of the Games
Visa was tracking money spent by its cardholders by sector, as well. There was $139.1 million spent on services ranging from shoe repair to spa treatments, $106.6 million on entertainment like theater tickets, $82.4 million on airlines and $66.3 million with retailers ranging from antique shops to drug stores.
Money Spent Through Visa
At The London Games
1. United States — $91.0 million (13%)
2. Japan — $47.4 million (7%)
3. France — $44.5 million (6%)
4. Italy — $42.1 million (6%)
5. Australia — $35.3 million (5%)
6. Republic of Ireland — $34.3 million (5%)
7. Spain — $33.5 million (5%)
8. Germany — $33.3 million (5%)
9. Canada — $25.3 million (4%)
10. Sweden — $23.9 million (3%)
August 7, 2012 05:52 PM
Hilton Worldwide this fall is taking beach volleyball from historic Horse Guards Parade to the shores of Waikiki in Hawaii.
The hotel company, which sponsors both the Chinese and U.S. Olympic teams, has arranged to host an exhibition between the beach volleyball teams from both countries at Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach. The games will be played Oct. 20 and broadcast at a later time on both NBC and Chinese TV.“Sponsors are always challenged with making the Olympics live beyond the few weeks,” said Jeff Diskin, senior vice president of global customer marketing for Hilton Worldwide. “Events like this are a great example of how we’re bringing that flavor and that equity beyond the Games.”
The competition will feature a U.S. women’s team of April Ross and Kerri Walsh against China’s Chen Xue and Xi Zhang, and a U.S. men’s team of Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser against China’s Penggen Wu and Linyin Xu. The tentative format also calls for mixed doubles play.
The broadcast on NBC is a time buy, and it will air in November. The event will be shown on China TV at a later date.
Diskin said that Hilton still is working on those final details, but the company wanted to announce the exhibition Wednesday because Walsh and Misty May-Treanor played against Xue and Zhang on Tuesday.
Hilton is one of only two sponsors of the Chinese Olympics team. It has sponsored the U.S. Olympic team since 2005.
“We’re sponsoring team USA and Team China, and this is a great way to provide a platform for us and support the athletes,” Diskin said. “We hope to bring a lot of attention to our athletes, our sponsorship and creating a great event for the two top medal-winning countries from these Games.”