NBC Sports expects to sell more than $1.1 billion in TV and digital advertising for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, with a top NBC executive saying this week that ad sales are "pacing very similarly" to the record-setting London Games in 2012.
NBC has not forecast TV ratings for the Rio de Janeiro Games, and the ratings comparisons could be tough with the London Games, which NBC has called the "most-watched event in U.S. history."
But NBC Sports officials hope to reach an equally large or larger audience - 217 million Americans tuned in to the London Games. NBC also claimed two billion page views on its websites during the London Games and 159 million video streams.
NBC Sports officials say the one-hour time difference between the East Coast and Rio de Janeiro will let the network televise live prime-time Olympic events.
The London prime-time events were taped and then broadcast in prime time in the United States, which may have dulled the excitement of the sporting events because fans could learn who the medal winners were elsewhere. London is five hours ahead of New York.
Seth Winter, NBC Sports' sales chief, said during a conference call Monday with reporters that he did not think media coverage of Brazil's poverty or environmental problems would deter corporations from advertising during the Olympic Games. NBC embargoed disclosure of the content from the call until 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Philadelphia time.
Winter said he just returned from Brazil and was "floored by how beautiful some parts of the country are."
Car manufacturers seem to be excited about the Olympics, Winter said, adding that none of the major advertising categories seemed weak. Companies mentioned as advertising during the 2016 games included BMW, Coke, Nike, and United Airlines.
There are no fixed prices for Olympic ads, as there are for Super Bowl ads. The cost of Olympic advertisements can vary by when a company purchases the ads, how consistently it has advertised during the Olympics in the past, and other factors, NBC Sports officials say.
Winter said that some advertisers wanted more flexibility and were waiting longer to place ads.
Olympics organizers added golf and rugby games for the 2016 Olympics. The NBCUniversal-owned Golf Channel is expected to televise the Olympic golf competition, a potential source of new advertising for Comcast-owned NBCUniversal since the Summer Games in London.
"We have more capacity in the Olympics this go-around because golf will have a very, very significant presence on our networks," Winter said.
NBCUniversal says it will air 60-second promotional ads on its TV networks on Wednesday at 8 p.m. as a "one year out" promotion for the Summer Olympics, which take place every four years.