Comcast: NBC Has $1B of Ad Sales for Olympics

"The value of live, big-event programming is more important than ever."

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

One big boon for Comcast in its acquisition of NBCUniversal has been NBC’s ongoing ownership of American television rights to the Olympic Games. The company demonstrated why this week, announcing the network had sold $1 billion worth of ads for this summer’s games in Rio de Janeiro.

The event “is on pace for the most national ad sales for any network for any media event in U.S. history,” NBC Sports said in a blog post on Tuesday. By comparison, ad sales for the London games didn’t reach the $1 billion mark until just two days before those games started. The Rio games don’t start until August. 

Deadline Hollywood says the news is good for Philadelphia-based Comcast. “Investors in NBC parent Comcast have keen interest in the financials for this year’s games. Strong sales could be a catalyst for a surge in the stock price, which has appreciated 7.3% during the past 12 months, Morgan Stanley’s Benjamin Swinburne observed last week.”

The Olympics are also valuable in this era of cord-cutting — live events, like sports and increasingly popular made-for-TV musicals like Fox’s “Grease” — are one area of programming that still draws eyeballs to traditional TV.

“The value of live, big-event programming is more important than ever to advertisers because of its ability to reach large audiences,” Seth Winter, NBC Sports’ executive vice president of ad sales, said in the blog post. “The Olympics’ ability to dominate primetime for 17 consecutive nights is unmatched. If brands want to reach viewers and their customers in the third quarter, they have to be in the Olympics.”

Reuters adds: “The network has not yet revealed its streaming plans for online viewing but said digital ad sales were healthy.”

The games should continue to benefit Comcast into the future: NBC has signed to pay $7.65 billion for the right to air six Olympic Games from 2022 to 2032.