NBC Close to $1 Bil Olympic Sales Goal

Jul 20, 2008  •  Post A Comment

NBC Sports says it’s nearing the end of its Olympic ad sales marathon, with 90% of its commercial inventory sold.
While executives with experience selling big-ticket sports repeat the adage that the last 10% is the hardest, Seth Winter, senior VP for sales for NBC Sports & Olympics, said the Beijing Games are on pace to set new revenue records. NBC’s target for Beijing is more than $1 billion, Mr. Winter has declared.
Reaching that goal would be yet another sign that sports remains hot, both in terms of attracting viewers and as an ad revenue generator. The Games, which begin Aug. 8, would follow on the heels of big numbers coming from the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, Wimbledon and Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game.
But ad sales sources say that since a strong upfront settled in June, the ad market has been very quiet, and finding another $100 million in two weeks could be a tall order for NBC.
Mr. Winter declined to answer questions last week about how he was approaching the last few weeks of ad sales, but sources familiar with his strategy said he expects to go into the Games with some unsold inventory. Those ads could command premium prices if the Games dominate the ratings.
Mr. Winter can’t cut prices to unload those ads before the start of the Games because that would upset marketers who already have a big position in the Games, often as part of multiyear agreements.
“How do you tell your $50 million advertisers that you’re selling at a discount?” said one media buyer. “If they approached me and said, ‘Do you have any other client at your agency that wants to get in at 50 cents on the dollar,’ my first reaction is going to be, ‘What about these clients that have already committed?’”
So far, the buyer said there have been no signs of price-cutting by NBC on the Olympics.
Neal Pilson, who broadcast several Olympics as president of CBS Sports, expects the Beijing Games to be big.
“The U.S. audience has an interest in what goes on in China, and I think the competition is going to be particularly exciting,” said Mr. Pilson, now a sports consultant.
NBC has persuaded the Olympic organizers to move key events to the morning in China so they can appear live during prime time in the U.S.
NBC plans to program 3,600 hours of coverage across a multitude of platforms, a big change from the days when you could only see events on a single broadcast channel.
“The Olympics always had a ton of video that never saw the light of day,” Mr. Pilson said. “The Olympics, I think, will find an audience in all of these different platforms; of course, NBC is selling across those platforms.
“I think it’s going to be the most exciting combination of sports and new technologies and television that we’ve seen in the history of our industry,” he said.
Measuring viewership and advertising effectiveness is something NBC will be paying a lot of attention to—and spending a lot of money on.
Mr. Pilson said the best thing that could happen for NBC would be to have quality performances by U.S. athletes early in the Games.
NBC’s biggest challenge is to help viewers navigate to the right channels to find the events they want to see, particularly with some of the more obscure sports.
“How do you get the word out that rowing is going to be on CNBC at 10 a.m.?” he said. “There’s no problem letting people know the finals of track and field are going to be at a certain time. What about all the 27 other disciplines? How do you let the public know where to find these things? I’m sure NBC is focused on that, but that’s one of the biggest challenges that they face.”


  1. Wonderful to read!

  2. I really liked your stuff.

  3. I agree with your thoughts here and I really love your blog! I’ve bookmarked it so that I can come back & read more in the future.

  4. I really like the colors here on your blog. did you design this yourself or did you outsource it to a professional?

  5. Neat blog layout! Very easy on the eyes.. i like the colors you picked out

  6. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy.

  7. Nice piece of data that you’ve got in this website submit. Hope I can get some much more of this stuff on your weblog. I’ll occur back.

  8. High quality info here! Keep up the great work. I love the feelings being expressed.

  9. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  10. This is the best blog I’ve ever seen in my life! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your this with everyone.

  11. This is good info! Where else can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work 🙂

  12. Can I just say what a relief to discover a name who truly knows what theyre talking regarding on the internet. You certainly recognize how to carry an topic to brightness and make it significant. Extra community must to study this and appreciate this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more fashionable since you definitely have the gift.

  13. how old is your weblog? th is would be the primary time I located it.

  14. Hmmm. I would have thought that pepsi would allow it to be to the worst of 2009 also.

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)