• GE doing business in Sochi, targets another $1B in Olympic sales

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    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.

  • NBC's prime-time rating remains up from 2008, drawing 33M viewers

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    NBC is averaging an 18.5 final rating and 33.1 million viewers through the first 11 nights of the London Games, up 8 percent and 12 percent, respectively, from a 17.2 rating and 29.6 million viewers during the same period four years ago during the 2008 Beijing Games. Ten of the 11 nights have scored a better audience compared to the same nights in Beijing. The 18.5 rating marks the lowest average rating for the London Games since they began, down from the peak average of 19.5 for nights featuring competition (see chart).

    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.

  • Gymnastics, track and field push Tuesday's overnight rating up 3%

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    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.

  • Podcast From A Pub: Mickle, SI’s Richard Deitsch talk media coverage

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    Mickle (left) and Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch
    For the latest installment of “Podcast from a Pub,” Olympics writer Tripp Mickle got lazy and didn’t actually go to a pub. Only kidding. He actually decided to stick around the Main Press Centre at Olympic Park so that he could bring on a special guest, Sports Illustrated media critic Richard Deitsch. The two met at Fred Parry Bar on the front of the Main Press Centre, which some 5,000 journalists use as their office each day of the London Games — the press center, not the bar.

    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.

  • Topps plans to do Sochi, Rio trading cards after success of London

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    Topps Olympic cards were so successful for the London Games that the trading card company plans to produce them for the Sochi and Rio Games, the company’s CEO Ryan O’Hara said.

    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.”

    Topps signed a licensing deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee earlier this year to create the cards, marking the first time trading cards have been made with Olympians in 16 years. Upper Deck had a similar deal that ended in 1996.

    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.

  • Team GB increases social media followers by more than 1M

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    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  
    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
    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

  • Visa: Visitors to the London Games rack up $1.4B on their cards

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    Another $700 million was spent on Visa cards by foreign travelers in the U.K. during the second week of the London Games, bringing the total spend during the Olympics to more than $1.4 billion.

    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%)

    Source: Visa

  • Hilton sets up U.S.-China beach volleyball exhibition for NBC this fall

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    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.”

  • Bolt’s win in 100 meters continues NBC’s strong prime-time ratings

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    Usain Bolt propelled NBC's Sunday night rating.
    NBC is averaging an 18.8 final rating and 33.6 million viewers through the first 10 nights of taped prime-time coverage from the London Games, up 9 percent and 12 percent, respectively, from a 17.3 rating and 29.9 million viewers during the same period during the 2008 Beijing Games.

    Sunday night’s coverage from 7:30-11:29 p.m. ET, highlighted by Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt winning his second consecutive gold medal in the 100 meters, finished with a 17.5 rating and 31.3 million viewers. Sunday night marked the seventh night during the London Games that averaged over 30 million viewers, equaling the combined total from Beijing and the 2004 Athens Games. NBC’s Sunday night average was up 9 percent and 15 percent, respectively, from a 16.0 rating and 27.2 million viewers during the comparable night in Beijing (see chart).

  • NBC suffers second overnight ratings drop of Games, Monday down 7%

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    NBC earned a 17.5 overnight Nielsen rating for Monday night’s prime-time Olympic coverage, down 7 percent from an 18.9 overnight for the comparable night during the Beijing Games in 2008. Last night’s coverage featured gold-medal finals for men’s and women’s individual gymnastics events, as well as gold-medal finals for men’s track events.

    If the percentage decrease holds when final numbers are released later today, the decline marks only the second time during these London Games that NBC has seen a night-over-night ratings drop compared to Beijing.

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