Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 26 No. 7
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

NBC Expects Tokyo Games Ad Sales To Exceed Rio's $1.2B

NBC expects to set an Olympic ad sales record in Tokyo, according to a media call hosted by NBC Exec VP/Advertising Sales Dan Lovinger. NBC brought in $1.2B in ad sales for the Rio Games, and Lovinger said, “We expect to exceed that number in Tokyo.” He added that sales were “pacing significantly ahead” of Rio and likely would blow past NBC’s ad sales goal. He would not put a number to NBC’s goal. “It goes to show the Olympic movement is alive and well.” Lovinger singled out the automotive, travel, beverage, tech and financial services categories as being the healthiest.

NBC once again is selling the Games by pushing its Total Audience Delivery concept that adds broadcast TV to cable, digital and social. New this year is the fact NBC will base its viewership guarantee on its TAD number rather than its primetime audience. “A viewer is a viewer regardless of how, where and when they tune in,” Lovinger said. Part of the NBC ad sales pitch is that Tokyo’s time zone -- 13 hours ahead of the East Coast -- is attractive because morning events from the Olympics will be carried live in primetime in the U.S. He also said that advertisers are intrigued by Tokyo as a host city.

In the last two Olympics cycles, NBC officials noticed that some IOC or USOPC sponsors were less interested in media to support their rights. However, Lovinger said there has not been further erosion in interest from official Olympic sponsors. In this cycle, the sponsors that are buying ads are buying more. "The deals we’ve done have actually been stronger volume on a per-deal basis than prior,” Lovinger said. NBC and LA28 created a joint sales team in hopes of tying together sponsorship and media buys in the future, but that mostly revolves around future Games.

Another NBC selling point for the Games is that they generally will avoid politics. Sandwiched between the two national political conventions in the U.S., Lovinger said advertisers are attracted to the Olympics as a “unifying event” and a “brand-safe environment” that is free of politics. NBC has not had conversations with political advertisers yet (“It’s way too early for that,” Lovinger said), but he pointed out that most political ad buys are local, not national.

NBC says advertisers have bought into the idea that the Games are safe for brands, even given the sprawling sex-abuse scandal that has engulfed USA Gymnastics and the USOPC for much of the last three years. “Advertisers recognize the difference between those organizing functions and the role athletes play in bringing those Games to life, and they want to support those athletes,” Lovinger said. “The Olympics still are an incredible environment for brands, and the advertisers vote with their wallets, and we’ve seen increased support as the games have gone on.”