Rio Olympics Ad Sales Outpacing London Games

NBC Continues to Expect Olympic Ad Sales Will Exceed $1 Billion

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If you spoke to Seth Winter, exec VP-sales and sales marketing, NBC Sports Group and NBC Universal News Group, just a few months ago he may not have been overly optimistic about ad sales for the 2016 Rio Olympics. But it seems in the last few weeks the tides have changed.

Ad sales for the Olympics, which will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, starting on Aug. 5, are now outpacing that of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Mr. Winter said on a press call on Thursday.

"A couple months ago, we were behind London, and I wouldn't say we were concerned, but we were behind London. But there were a couple of significant pieces of business that dropped. ...We are now well ahead of London."

Mr. Winter added that activity in the pipeline is also exceeding that of London. He continues to expect NBC Universal will break revenue records, exceeding the $1 billion or more they brought in for the London games.

Digital sales are expected to be as much as 50% higher than London, Mr. Winter said. Since digital inventory is significantly more limited than linear, he noted marketers cannot buy digital inventory without making a sizeable investment on linear TV.

Automobiles, technology, consumer packaged goods, insurance, quick-service restaurants and movie studios, among others, have been strong categories. And Mr. Winter hopes the Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates buy ad time during the games.

The 2016 Olympics being held in Rio, which is just one hour ahead of the East Coast, means more of the major competitions will be aired live in or around prime time, a potential positive for ratings.

NBC recently pulled a 22 overnight rating for a NFL playoff game and Mr. Winter expects similar ratings for Olympic games airing in prime time.

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