THE DAY AFTER: NBC GETS HIGH MARKS FOR OLYMPIC DEAL
One day after NBC announced it had purchased broadcast
rights to the 2004, 2006, and 2008 Olympic Games, media writers
around the country were still commenting on the deal -- one of
the largest deals in TV sports history.
IT'S ALL THE TALK: In Chicago, George Lazarus reports his
"mini-survey" of advertisers and agencies indicates NBC "has
pulled off a shrewd deal that offers competitive advantages
versus the other networks." Page Thompson, Exec VP/U.S. Media
Director for DDB Needham, says although the "media landscape" is
uncertain ten years from now, "you can bet there will be 20
different ways that an outfit like NBC will be able to package
programming and showcase it at that time." Tony Ponturo,
Anheuser-Busch's VP Corporate/Media Sports Marketing, could not
comment on A-B's future Olympic plans, but added, "We've been a
sponsor for a long time, and there's no reason to think we won't
be in the future." Lazarus concludes that NBC is "right on the
money with its latest, though costly deal" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
12/14). In L.A., Randy Harvey writes NBC established "itself as
the leader in sports broadcasting entering the next century."
Harvey says NBC got the Games at "bargain rates" (L.A. TIMES,
12/14). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes on the strong
"brand-name recognition" of the Olympics. Hiestand: "The Games
are comprised of sports that otherwise get rock-bottom U.S. TV
ratings. But slap on the Olympic brand name and -- voila! --
one-quarter of U.S. households might tune to see luge or
synchronized swimming" (USA TODAY, 12/14). Agent Art Kaminsky:
"The bottom line is that if your took Disney, ABC, Cap-Cities,
Westinghouse, CBS, Time Warner and Turner, they don't even have
half of what GE can put on the table. It's an awesome thing"
(USA TODAY, 12/14).
NOT ALL PRAISE: In Washington, Tony Kornheiser notes,
"There's a reason folks don't make big purchases way in advance.
Stuff happens." In addition to global warming, continental shift
and political upheaval, Kornheiser notes the ages of top NBC
announcers in 2008: Dick Enberg (74), Charlie Jones (77), Paul
Maguire (70), Bob Costas (56), and Bryant Gumbel (60) (WASHINGTON
KUDOS FOR DICK EBERSOL: The Olympic deals "put the largest
possible exclamation point behind the 'big event' strategy" that
NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol "devised to bring NBC Sports
back from oblivion," according to Bill Carter of the N.Y. TIMES.
Supporters and critics alike say Ebersol's "skill at one sports
partner called 'relationship marketing' is truly what separates
him" from other TV sports execs (N.Y. TIMES, 12/14). USA TODAY's
Rudy Marktze gives Ebersol his award for Executive of the Year
for the seventh straight year. Besides for the two Olympic
deals, NBC retained MLB coverage and received a contract
extension for their coverage of golf's U.S. Open (USA TODAY,
THE PIE IS GROWING: USOC Deputy Secretary General John
Krimsky said he intends to ask the IOC for a bigger cut of NBC's
$2.3B payment. Krimsky hopes to have their portion increased
form 10% to 15%. Krimsky cited the contributions of a U.S.
network and the enhanced sponsorship opportunities from a long-
term relationship with NBC as reasons the U.S. should get more
(Christine Brennan, WASHINGTON POST, 12/14).