Rio Summer Olympics Ad Sales Top $1B, NBCUniversal Says

Rio de Janeiro City Landscape - H 2013
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Rio de Janeiro City Landscape - H 2013

The company crossed the benchmark earlier than it did for the London Summer Olympics in 2012.

NBCUniversal's NBC Olympics unit said Tuesday that it has surpassed $1 billion in national advertising sales for its coverage of the Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer.

The company crossed the benchmark earlier than it did for the London Summer Olympics in 2012, which reached about $1.3 billion in ad sales.

"Rio 2016 remains on pace to secure the most national advertising sales ever for an Olympic Games and the most by any network for any media event in U.S. history," the company said. "The $1 billion milestone — which includes national broadcast, cable and digital sales — comes roughly four months earlier than when it was achieved for the 2012 London Olympics. That milestone was announced on July 25, 2012, just two days prior to London’s Opening Ceremony on July 27."

The Rio Games begin in 129 days, on Aug. 5.

Said Seth Winter, executive vp advertising sales, NBC Sports Group: “The value of live, big-event programming is more important than ever to advertisers because of its ability to reach large audiences. 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.”

He added: “The market is very healthy and bullish on the Olympics as evidenced by the fact that we’ve surpassed the $1 billion mark four months ahead of London. Advertisers know that integrating their brands in front of Olympic viewers is good for their businesses. We continue to expect to set the Olympic record for national ad sales.”

Discussing available ad inventory, he said: “Some of the most valuable inventory is gone; but, there is still some primetime availability on the network as well as cable-channel inventory.”

According to Kantar Media, the 2014 Sochi Winter Games generated $946 million in ad revenue. The 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver accounted for $809 million in ad revenue, and the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing drew $821 million.

NBCUniversal and its cable giant parent Comcast have invested billions in the rights for the Olympic Games through 2032. Last year, Comcast agreed to pay an average of $1.275 billion for each of the editions from 2022 through 2032.