Despite the issues surrounding the 2016 Olympics, one entity is already considering things a resounding success: NBC.
The Games’ primary broadcaster paid nearly $1.3 billion for this year’s Olympics.
During an earnings call late last week, NBCUniversal CEO, Steve Burke, said that the company stands to make a formidable profit.
“We made $120 million or thereabouts in London, and we are going to make a lot more than that in Rio,” he told reporters last week.
In that same conference call, Seth Winter, NBC Sports Group EVP for ad sales, said, “We’ve surpassed what we thought was at one point an unobtainable threshold.”
That threshold: a record $1.2 billion in ad sales already sold. ATTEND FROM YOUR DESK: Create infographics that grab your audience and don’t let go.
The impressive profit margin is being attributed to some of the negative coverage surrounding the 2016 games. For example, Olympic Village accommodations weren’t exactly ready when athletes started arriving, reports of water pollution have become pervasive, violent crime has been problematic in certain areas of Rio and several athletes have voiced concern (and even stayed away from Brazil) because of fears surrounding the Zika virus.
The Olympics has seen steady coverage leading up to its start, and perhaps more people will tune in to see whether catastrophe will hit.
“It sounds a little bit distorted or perverse, whatever the appropriate word is, but it just raises awareness that there are Olympic Games going on in South America. And I think you’d have to be hibernating under a rock not to understand that,” Winter said.
Part of the appeal for advertisers is that Rio is only an hour ahead of the Eastern Time Zone. That means that advertisers can appear during live broadcasts as opposed to tape delays, which was the case with the London Olympics four years ago.
The success also comes despite heavy restrictions put on non-advertiser brands that may want to jump on the Rio bandwagon and capitalize on Rio’s popularity.
The International Olympic Committee went so far as to ban GIFs of Olympic competition.
The use of Olympic Material transformed into graphic animated formats such as animated GIFs (ie GIFV), GFY, WebM, or short video formats such as Vines and others, is expressly prohibited.
The collective internet has found clever ways to get around that issue:
— Sean O’Kane (@sokane1) August 4, 2016
— Howard Riefs (@hriefs) August 5, 2016
The IOC is trying to ban press outlets from making GIFs of Olympic events this year. Good luck with that. pic.twitter.com/6fCWrQpXk7
— Karl Hodge (@karlhodge) August 5, 2016
— BenchWarmers (@BeWarmers) August 5, 2016