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Paris Olympics On Pace For Record Ad Revenue, NBCUniversal Says

The Summer Olympics in Paris are poised to set a record for advertising revenue, according to NBCUniversal.

Dan Lovinger, President of Olympic & Paralympic Partnerships at NBCU, said $1.2 billion has been collected to date, which is just shy of the all-time mark.

“The new record is coming,” Lovinger said Tuesday during a media conference call, and it should be hit “quite shortly.”

Among the factors driving interest from advertisers, Lovinger said, are surging momentum for women’s sports, growth at Peacock and strong awareness that the Olympics occupy prime real estate in terms of live tune-in. While the Games will be several hours ahead of the U.S., the Paris setting will have inherent appeal even to casual viewers, the company believes.

With ESPN shattering records with its coverage of the Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament and ratings on the rise for the WNBA, Lovinger noted that half of NBCU’s primetime coverage in Paris will feature women. “We’ve seen advertisers specifically come to the Olympics to reach women,” he said, as well as sponsors looking to “support woman athletes.”

Inventory is nearly sold out, with retail, pharmaceuticals and entertainment among the categories showing strength, NBCU said. Next week, the company will announce a handful of brands that have committed to 100-day campaigns stretching from this month through the Opening Ceremony in July 26.

Paris will also be the first edition of the Summer Games offered as a fulloffering on Peacock. The streaming outlet launched in 2020 during the early onset of Covid. The Tokyo Olympics wound up being held the following year, and NBCU came in for criticism for its reluctance to populate its streaming service with Olympic fare. Three years later, Peacock will be wall-to-wall with every event viewable during the Games, following a similar approach with the Beijing Winter Games in 2022.

Given the timing of the Paris Games in between the Democratic and Republican conventions, Lovinger was asked if political advertising would spill into the Olympics. “We intend for these Games to be red, white and blue, not red or blue,” he said, indicating that local stations would benefit most from swing-state campaign spending.

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