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Volume 26 No. 7
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NBCUniversal Partnering With LA 2028 On Media, Sponsorship Sales

NBCUniversal is covering a large portion of LA 2028’s $2.5B domestic sponsorship sales goal as part of a move that will see the two organizations, along with the USOC, combine media and sponsorship sales for the Olympic and Paralympic Games from '21-28. LA 2028 Chair Casey Wasserman noted this is not a “fake joint venture but a truly integrated offering.” Wasserman: “It’s not that we’re contributing some inventory and they’re contributing some inventory and if it doesn't work, no harm no foul. Everyone has a stake here.” The precise size of NBC’s commitment is unknown. NBCU will participate in the upside of sponsorship sales gains, a source said. “It made perfect sense, with the change in marketplace conditions, for us to come together to deliver a holistic package across a massive amount of inventory related to the Olympics,” said NBCU Chair of Advertising & Partnerships Linda Yaccarino, who will lead her company's efforts. NBCU and U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Properties, the joint venture formed by LA 2028 and the USOC to control Team USA rights from ’21-28, will hire a sales team that will sell sponsorships for IP rights, product marketing, local activation and NBCU’s multiscreen coverage around upcoming Olympic Games. The venture also will support the IOC’s TOP sponsorship program.

ONE-STOP SHOPPING: Wasserman said he has been pushing for the collaboration for the past year because he had heard from marketers who wanted a one-stop shop to buy sponsorships and media. The deal marks a departure from traditional Olympic sponsorships, which historically have not included media buys. “Brands want to leverage the entire NBCUniversal portfolio for their benefit,” Wasserman said. “They want to be able to take advantage of the sponsorship rights we have with LA 2028, with the U.S. Olympic team and the US Paralympic team. ... We’re going to create reach and certainty and simplicity.”

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING: The announcement already is garnering a fair amount of pickup by various press outlets. Variety’s Cynthia Littleton noted the early advertising push is “part of the larger effort” to make the ’28 Games an “impressive and financially successful event.” It will mark the first time the Summer Games have been held in the U.S. in 32 years following the ’96 Atlanta Games. Wasserman indicated to Littleton that this sponsorship approach “will only help bring stability to the Olympic movement and its funding needs in the U.S.” Meanwhile, the AP’s Eddie Pells notes the agreement allows LA 2028 a chance to "'de-risk' … some of its obligations” to the city, the USOC and the IOC by reaching sponsorships that will “presumably become more valuable because they’ll include ad time on NBC’s Olympic-based shows.” The partnership also should remove a previous complaint from Team USA sponsors in that “signing on with the USOC did not guarantee them opportunity to place ads on NBC’s coverage.”