’06 Olympic Ad Sales Set Record

Dec 19, 2005  •  Post A Comment

NBC Universal says it has sold a record $900 million worth of Winter Olympics advertising for the Turin, Italy, games.

The network said that since Thanksgiving it has closed several deals that brought the Winter Games up from 80 percent sold to 90 percent sold, giving some of the credit for the uptick in demand to bubbling interest in the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.

The Beijing games are already 45 percent sold, said Peter Lazarus, senior VP of NBC Universal Olympic sales and marketing. Some of the marketers buying into those games also decided to buy the 2006 games in order to begin their association with the Olympics earlier, he said.

Mr. Lazarus said marketers were also becoming interested in the Olympics because of reports of the strength of the American team, which includes such stars as World Cup champion ski racer Bode Miller, speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno and figure skaters Sasha Cohen and Michelle Kwan.

Among the clients making deals for Olympics time are AT&T, DHL, Lenovo, Target, Choice Hotels and ExxonMobil. All of those companies except ExxonMobil are Olympic “ring” sponsors, which means they have marketing deals in place with the games, but still had to negotiate with NBC for television time.

Some of those advertisers have integrated aspects to their deals with NBC. Lenovo, for example, is providing computers that will be used in the International Broadcast Center and seen on-air. Choice Hotels is the exclusive hotel chain for the games.

Sales are posting 5 percent to 8 percent ahead of the 2002 games in Salt Lake City, when NBC sold $740 million in advertising, Mr. Lazarus said.

NBC planned a launch today of NBCOlympics.com, a joint venture with Internet Broadcasting. The site will feature video, real-time results and media counts, an interactive television viewer’s guide, an OlympicZone section for local affiliates, e-mail boxes for Olympic athletes and commentators and blogs fed by NBC staffers and others close to the games.