NBC Sees Double-Digit Growth in Olympic Ad Sales

Super Bowl spots selling for more than $5M
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Despite what some describe as a tepid ad market, NBC Sports says it expects to see a double-digit rise in advertising sales for the Winter Olympics from South Korea.

Days before the Olympics start on February 8 , NBC will also be broadcasting the Super Bowl, and spots are selling for $5 million and up per 30 seconds.

“We expect to reach our revenue targets for both events,” said Dan Lovinger, executive VP for ad sales at NBC Sports Group, on a conference call with reporters Monday.

The last winter Olympics, from Sochi, Russia, generated about $850 million in ad revenue. Lovinger said he was expecting an increase in the low double digits, including digital and social spending.

This year, NBC is selling the Olympics based on the People 2+ metric insteady of households. The People 2+ is more easily translated to digital.

NBC is also selling based on Total Audience Delivery, which includes online as well as broadcast viewership in the totals audience NBC guarantees its audience.

NBC has expanded its relationship with Snapchat and Buzzfeed in selling ads in Olympic related content. It is using data to target viewers interested in Olympic events on Snapchat and is talking to other digital partners about more ways to reach millennial viewers.

For the Super Bowl, Lovinger said he expects to generate about $350 million in in-game ad revenue.

“We’re extraordinarily well sold,” Lovinger said. “Advertisers looking for premium positions need to be discussing that with us now.”

While Lovinger insisted NBC was “asking for and getting north of $5 million” for Super Bowl spots, he declined to compare that pricetag with how much Fox got last year.

Related: NBCU Earnings Rise Despite Loss of Olympic Revenue

He said he wasn’t clear on what went into the numbers Fox was claiming, “but I’m confident our unit rate is higher than what they sold it at.”

NBC’s Super Bowl advertisers will also have the same spots running in streaming versions of the Super Bowl going to online and over-the-top viewers, he said.

Some advertisers are buying spots in both the Super Bowl and the Olympics. While both events have giant audiences, only about half of all viewers watch both, which means advertisers can extend their reach by buying spots in both event.

Lovinger said about 25% of NBC’s ad sales revenue in the Super Bowl and Olympics comes from advertisers sponsoring both events.

This is the first time a network has had both the Super Bowl and Olympics in close proximity and Lovinger was asked if there was some sport fatigue that might hurt ad sales.

“It’s the opposite,” Lovinger said. “Ratings are holding up from a ratings perspective better than just about anything,” he said, plus sports generate scale passion and enthusiasm. “These event stand alone in public interest. They’re they kinds of events that transcend sport and become cultural phenomena.”

Lovinger said NBC was looking at the six-second spots Fox has been running in NFL broadcasts and the World series. “Frankly we’re intrigued to do the research” to see how well the shorter ads impact consumers and drive sales. It is unlike any six second ad will run in the Super Bowl, but more likely to appear during the Olympics within shifts from sport to sport, or from the studio to a venue.

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