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NBC: Rio Olympics will surpass profit performance from Sochi Games


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NBC: Rio Olympics will surpass profit performance from Sochi Games

's expects to registerits strongest fiscal performance from an Olympics ever with the upcoming summergames.

NBC SportsGroup Chairman Mark Lazarus, in an interview following NBC Olympics' press conferenceat Studio 8H at Rockefeller Center on July 11, said the programmer will turn a profitfrom its expansive coverage from Rio de Janeiro. While NBCU broke even with the London Games in 2012, its first underthe auspices of Comcast, Lazarus said it "finished ahead" with the WinterGames from Sochi, Russia, in 2014.

Lazarussaid Rio "will unequivocally" surpass the fiscal performance from Sochi.

NBC Olympics,for a rights fee of $1.26billion plus production costs, will present 6,755 hours of linear and digital fare— an unprecedented amount and a 22% jump from the 5,535 hours from the London Olympicsin 2012.

Accordingto Seth Winter, executive vice president of ad sales for the NBC Sports Group, thenational ad revenue total for Rio is up 15% from London levels, when the companyrang up a little more than $1 billion for its linear and digital offerings. Wintersaid that while many premium positions are sold out, the company is still writingbusiness for the Rio Games, which are now just over three weeks away.

SNL Image
Rio de Janeiro

Wintersaid with schedules from IOC and USOCsponsors, including first-time Games participant Dick's Sporting Goods, over100 marketers are on board for NBC Olympics' coverage.  There has also been significant expansion in theauto category. Whereas General Motors and BMW previously had category exclusivity,Winter said five autos have driven deals for Rio.

On thelocal level, Lazarus noted that 10 NBC(US) owned-and-operated stations and 18 from Telemundo (US) are in a strong position. He said thosestations are receiving "a huge lift of a couple of hundred million dollarsin revenue over 17 days."

Lazarussaid there are strong marketing opportunities for stations that are home to premiereathletes. NBC Olympics makes athlete profiles and other content available to stationsand distribution affiliates, with the fare serving as a combination of promotionand programming.

Wintersaid NBC Olympics is offering a prime-time household ratings guarantee in the "highteens," on a live + same-day basis. For London, NBC averaged a 17.5 ratingand 31.1 million viewersover 17 prime-time windows.

Yet withmany viewers, particularly younger ones, moving toward watching programming on delayedbasis and alternative platforms, NBC's prime-time performance could be curtailedto some extent.

"We'rehopeful to be able to meet or exceed London numbers," said Lazarus, but it's"never easy to project television viewership."

JohnMiller, chief marketing officer of NBC Olympics, is charged with helping steer viewerstoward the games and said the company next week will begin marshalling its promotionalclout toward them. Miller said the "gold symphony" initiative will notonly encompass the nine networks that will air the action, but other linear anddigital properties throughout the company. For London, he said, that amounted to18 or 19 of NBCU's other holdings.

Milleris encouraged by 79% consumer awareness of Rio. Among that phone-surveyed group,62% indicated they intend to watch some of the competition.

Coveragebegins on Aug. 3 with women's soccer on NBCSN(US) and USA (US).

The nextnight NBC will set the table with a one-hour preview show live from Rio, introducingU.S. viewers to the host city and Brazil. Bob Costas, who will serve as NBC's prime-timeOlympic host for a U.S. television record 11th time, will be joined by NBC Olympicscorrespondents and event analysts. The special will feature Olympic stalwarts MichaelPhelps, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Usain Bolt and Katie Ledecky and the U.S. women'sgymnastics team, including Simone Biles, who is expected to be a breakout star inRio.

The showis also slated to address the political, economic, security and pollution issuesthat have generated plenty of headlines ahead of the games, as well as the Zikavirus, which, among other reasons, is keeping a number of the world's top male golfersaway from Rio.

Officially,the Olympics begin the following day on Aug. 5, with NBC presenting the openingceremony.