The Olympics is about the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat and the selling of ads. And NBC said today that it could win a gold medal on that last score this year: It has already sold more than $1 billion in national spots for the Summer Games in Rio with 129 days to go before they begin August 5.
That puts it “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.
“Some of the most valuable inventory is gone, but there is still some primetime availability on the network as well as cable-channel inventory,” said Seth Winter, EVP Advertising Sales at NBC Sports Group.
To put the sales into context, the company notes that it didn’t cross $1 billion in national broadcast, cable and digital sales for the 2012 London Olympics until July 25 — just two days before the Opening Ceremony.
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.
NBC reported that it averaged 31.1 million viewers over the 16 days of the 2012 London games, a 12% improvement over the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and up 25% vs. the 2004 games in Athens.