(from Sports Business Journal, November 5, 2013) There is always a buzz around the world when the Olympic Games roll around. With the Winter Olympics approaching in 2014, NBC is more optimistic about the upcoming games than they have ever been in the last decade. The games will be hosted in Sochi, Russia and are expected to generate more revenue than ever, NBC believes. “We’ll be profitable, comfortably,” NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus said during a dinner NBC hosted for Olympic advertisers and executives last week at New York’s Russian Tea Room. “Rights fees in the world are going up and up and up. When push comes to shove on (the) Sochi and Rio (Olympics), the deal was pretty flat, but (our profitability) is really indicative of the strength of the market. Sponsors are supporting it because of the ratings and the family viewing.”
NBC bought the rights for this upcoming Winter Olympics for $775 million which was actually cheaper than the $820 million paid in 2010 for the winter games in Vancouver. Lazarus believes between NBC’s lower rights fee and a strong ad market, the company will not experience a loss on the upcoming Olympics. Advertising sales have been so strong that Seth Winter, NBC Sports Executive Vice President of Ad Sales, believes the company is in position to completely sell out its first Olympics in more than a decade. In addition to all of this going for NBC, the executives have even more reasons to feel confident about the potential success of the upcoming Olympic broadcast. A survey conducted to research the intent to watch the Sochi Winter Olympics revealed that more than 52 percent of the nation intends to tune in, and NBC Sports Chief Marketer, John Miller, explained that those numbers are before the company has made its final promotional push around the Games. He expects the intent to view to increase even more around February 6, the day before Sochi’s opening ceremony.
All together, NBC believes they are in great position to present potentially the most anticipated Olympic Games of all time. The scene in Sochi, Russia to host the 2014 Winter Olympics could not be any more ideal, and NBC cannot wait for the festivities to kick-off.