NBC executives made the somewhat surprising claim today that negative coverage of the problems leading up to the Olympics — including the Zika virus, political unrest in Brazil, polluted water and other issues — has helped ad sales by raising awareness of the Games.
The AP quotes NBC Sports advertising head Seth Winters saying: “The numbers reflect that. Advertisers are exceptionally bullish on these games.”
The AP adds: “He said NBC had already sold $1.2 billion in national advertising time, at a pace about 20 percent above the 2012 London Games, and is holding back inventory for additional sales. The network hit its internal target weeks in advance, and often that doesn’t happen until after the games start, if the target is reached, he said.”
NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke has previously predicted that the Rio Games will be the most profitable Olympics in history.
“The London Games were a huge success for NBC, which averaged 31.1 million viewers across two weeks of prime-time coverage,” the AP notes. “In today’s fragmented television world, nothing can come close to gathering such a large, diverse audience for that length of time.”
The Opening Ceremony is set for Friday.