Universal Sports ad entices viewers to stick with Olympic sports

Universal Sports broke a new ad in prime time on NBC Thursday night, encouraging viewers of the Olympics to tune in to the amateur sports channel for more gymnastics, swimming, and track and field action.

The spot highlighted the Olympic sports network’s upcoming coverage of the 2012 Diamond League track competitions, the 2013 Visa Championships in gymnastics and the 2013 world championships of swimming. It culminates with the tagline, “The home of Olympic sports year-round.”

“That really is the message,” Universal Sports CEO David Sternberg said.  “There’s continuity here. Even though the Olympics may end, you can still see these athletes and these sports day in, day out on Universal.”

It’s the second Summer Games that Universal Sports has released an ad on NBC in prime time. It first did so during the Beijing Games in 2008.

The network, which is owned by InterMedia Sports, received $10 million in media value from NBC, which owns a minor stake in the network, during the Olympics. In addition to ads on NBC prime time, it has spots on MSNBC, CNBC, NBC Sports Network and NBCOlympics.com.

Most of its advertising is directed at the final weekend of Olympic competition, which Sternberg hopes will help drive avid and new Olympic fans to the network over the next year.

The network currently is in 35 million homes. Sternberg said he expects to land two new distribution deals before the end of the year.

“We’re hoping to build that (distribution),” he said. “We hope to have a big cable distribution announcement soon. Between now and the end of the year, there will be at least two new distribution carriers.”

Sternberg was in London attending his first Olympics. He arrived this week for an eight-day trip.

“There’s an element of fun and leisure, but I’ve also been here meeting with our international federation partners,” Sternberg said. “We’re extending programming deals and talking about working together on marketing initiatives in the U.S. market. It’s an opportunity to come to one place and see everybody.”

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