NBCU Surpasses $1.25 Billion in Tokyo Olympics Ad Sales As Part of ‘Full Steam Ahead’ Push

IOC and Comcast reaffirmed commitment to summer games amid coronavirus concerns

The NBC Tokyo 2020 logo
NBCUniversal and the IOC have underscored their commitment to the event amid coronavirus fears. NBCUniversal

Key insights:

With 90% of its ad inventory for its broadcast of the Tokyo Olympics sold, NBCUniversal said today that it has hit a record high of $1.25 billion in national advertising for the summer event amid growing concerns about the coronavirus and its effect on international events.

The $1.25 billion in ad sales exceeds NBCUniversal’s previous record of $1.2 billion in national ad sales during the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, said NBC Sports Group evp, ad sales Dan Lovinger. The company, which anticipated it would outsell its previous record in July, has also sold out of all of its Tokyo Paralympics ad inventory.

“The momentum for Tokyo 2020 remains strong, but inventory is growing scarce as advertisers continue to value the massive reach of the Games and are eager to align their brands with the biggest media event of the year,” Lovinger said in a statement.

The news of the record ad sales comes amid broadening fears of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 3,000 people worldwide, including nine in the U.S., and sickened more than 90,000. In an abundance of caution, some companies have canceled conferences and events. Others have pulled back on attendance to other events that are still going on as planned.

While the Summer Olympics are still five months away, the company and the International Olympic Committee have already weighed in on the possibility of the virus affecting the games. So far, they have underscored a continued commitment to the games going on as planned.

At Morgan Stanley’s annual Technology, Media and Telecom conference in San Francisco today, Comcast CEO and chairman Brian Roberts said the company was still “full steam ahead,” and was optimistic that the event would go on as planned.

“Should there be some disruption, as others have said, we anticipate these kinds of things in big contract language,” Roberts said. “We try to anticipate for big events what might happen so that we’re protected there, and we also have insurance for any expenses we make. So there should be no losses should there not be an Olympics. There wouldn’t be a profit this year. But again, we’re optimistic the Olympics are going to happen.”

The remarks come as the International Olympic Committee has encouraged athletes to continue preparing for the Olympic Games and that it was fully committed to the success of the competition.

“A joint task force had already been created since mid-February involving the IOC, Tokyo 2020, the host city Tokyo, the government of Japan and the World Health Organization,” the IOC executive board said in a statement. “The IOC EB appreciates and supports the measures being taken, which constitute an important part of Tokyo’s plans to host safe and secure Games. The IOC will continue to follow the advice of the WHO, as the leading United Nations agency on this topic.”

@kelseymsutton kelsey.sutton@adweek.com Kelsey Sutton is the streaming editor at Adweek, where she covers the business of streaming television.
Publish date: March 3, 2020 https://stage.adweek.com/tv-video/nbcu-surpasses-1-25-billion-in-tokyo-olympics-ad-sales-as-part-of-full-steam-ahead-push/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT