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Volume 26 No. 229
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NBC Sports Says Ad Sales On Torrid Pace For Tokyo Games

More than half of NBC's ad buyers for the Tokyo Games are newcomers to Olympic advertising
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
More than half of NBC's ad buyers for the Tokyo Games are newcomers to Olympic advertising
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
More than half of NBC's ad buyers for the Tokyo Games are newcomers to Olympic advertising
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

NBC Sports expects to beat the previous high-water mark of $1.2B for ad sales set during the '16 Rio Games, having already cleared $1B in sales for the Tokyo Games, the network said. Sales are up double digits compared to the same point eight months prior to Rio, said NBC Sports Group Exec VP/Advertising Sales Dan Lovinger. More than half the buyers are newcomers to Olympic advertising, Lovinger said, with those first-timers coming mostly from tech, pharma, retail, fast food and finance. NBC also has had some success selling to Japanese companies looking to make a mark in the U.S., including a sake brand and regional tourism concerns. Officials credited several factors for the strong sales: A Japanese time zone that will allow for live coverage of morning and afternoon events in U.S. primetime; the decision to include the Olympics in upfront negotiations; and research and creative development tools NBC offers ad buyers (Ben Fischer, THE DAILY).

AGGRESSIVE SELLS: ADWEEK's Kelsey Sutton noted NBCUniversal, which has "aggressively sold and marketed the Summer Games, has rolled out a number of offerings and tools intended to make the games more palatable and appealing to advertisers, especially first-time ones." The '20 Games were included in the '19 Upfronts negotiations "for the first time." Lovinger said that that put the broadcaster "ahead of schedule." NBCU for the first time also is "selling the game as a unified offering across broadcast, cable, digital and social reach." The Tokyo Games are the "first time advertisers have been able to buy against key audience demos and against a single CPM." Lovinger said that this has "allowed for broader participation in the games among advertisers with different needs." NBCU also is "rolling out a marketing sponsorship opportunity for advertisers to sponsor competitions featuring high-profile women athletes." Lovinger said that the Association of National Advertiser's #SeeHer initiative, which NBCU got in on during the '18 Games, will come back in '20 as "See Her Shine, and it will give advertisers an opportunity to align themselves with the stories of women athletes on Team USA competing for Olympic records" (ADWEEK.com, 12/10).

POLITICAL ARENA: Lovinger said that NBCU has "sold packages that range in price" from $1M to $100M or more, depending on the "amount of inventory involved and the scope of each advertiser's goals." VARIETY's Brian Steinberg noted NBCU has been "pitching the Olympics to advertisers as a sort of neutral ground that any consumer can enjoy, no matter the politics of the moment." The Democratic National Convention will take place "two weeks prior to the NBCU 17-day Olympics broadcast, and the Republican National Convention will take place two weeks later." NBCU is "touting its sports broadcast as something both of those segments will watch" (VARIETY.com, 12/10). Lovinger said that his team has not "entered into conversations with any of the established or would-be presidential candidates about buying ad time" during the Toyko Games, although that all could "change as the Democratic herd begins to thin out" (ADAGE.com, 12/10).