NBC to surpass $1 billion in Olympic ad sales

NBC says it will surpass a record-high $1 billion in national TV and digital ad sales around the Olympics. That figure is $150 million higher than NBC sold in Beijing four years ago, and it is $50 million higher than NBC was reporting at the beginning of July.

The network’s coverage of Friday’s opening ceremony is sold out, and its coverage of the closing ceremony on Aug. 12 is virtually sold out, according to Seth Winter, NBC’s executive vice president of sales and marketing.

“It’s been a little over two years of hard work,” Winter said.

NBC’s ad sales performance comes as the network’s executives have been hinting that they expect to lose money on the Olympics this year. NBC said it lost $220 million on the Vancouver Games.

The $1 billion in ad sales includes NBC, Telemundo, NBC’s cable channels, NBCOlympics.com, 3-D, apps and specialty channels. NBC says its has sold more than $60 million in digital ad sales, though it is not selling digital on its own. All digital ad sales are packaged with TV buys. The Summer Games will be the first time every event will be streamed live online via NBCOlympics.com.

Winter said almost every TV ad sales category — other than hotels — has bought time. This year’s performance is a marked contrast to Beijing in 2008, when NBC ran up against the beginning of an economic recession in the United States.

“We saw some of our conversations fall apart in late May and early June going into Beijing,” Winter said.

NBC said Procter & Gamble made a big investment, as did BMW and GM. Winter also singled out Fruit of the Loom, which also made a big investment despite not being an official ring holder.
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