by. Kevin Pollock

Have you heard about Paris lately? I’m not talking about the 2017 global smash hit by DJ duo The Chainsmokers, but rather the host of the 2024 Summer Olympics. This year’s Summer Olympics is set to be one of the largest in recent memory. Look for a resurgence of fans post-COVID flocking to one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Get ready to watch top athletes represent their country and go for gold. With fans finally back in the stands for each event, including new ones like break dancing, and a more favorable time zone for US audiences, the Paris Olympics is positioned to break attendance, viewership, and media investment records.

The Olympics, inspired by the ancient Games in Olympia, Greece, held the inaugural modern games in Athens, Greece in 1896. Although it is not certain that there were no advertising dollars spent on the Olympics in 1896, one could assume there might have been some form of print and outdoor advertisements promoting the games. We know that NBCUniversal has already reported over 1.2 billion dollars in ad commitments for the Games thus far. The Olympics is a global event, so why is the 1.2 billion dollars in ad revenue such an important number? Just before the 2020 games, NBCUniversal announced $1.25 billion from advertisers, and with the one-year postponement to 2021, that figure decreased slightly to $1.2 billion in final spending. The slight decrease is understandable due to the circumstances surrounding the delay, but the final spending mirrored the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics of $1.2 billion in ad revenue garnered. With a little over a month & a half to go before the Olympics, could this be the most profitable Olympics ever?

Dan Lovinger – President of Olympic & Paralympic partnerships at NBCUniversal, reported by Sportico, gave an interview recently where he said, “We are highly confident that we will set a new record in revenue, there is an unquestioned resurgence of interest”. Lovinger also mentioned that of the $1.2 billion secured in ad revenue, $350 million+ of that was from new advertisers. A key selling point to the existing and new advertisers is the influx of new advertising opportunities NBCU offers. For the first time, all live events at the Olympics will be streamed through NBC’s OTT/CTV platform Peacock, which has a reported 31 million+ plus subscribers, up 55% from the Tokyo games. With eMarketer reporting the % of cord-cutters in America surpasses that of consumers who pay for cable, NBCU is going all in on the digital and streaming opportunities to drive investment from small to medium-sized businesses that may not have the ad budgets to invest through a traditional media package. Danads reported Steve Ellis, COO of Paramount Advertising, recently commented, “Premium video is the one space left in media with scale that SMBs (small-and medium-size businesses) have not really had an optimized experience for… It’s streaming and ad-supported streaming and that scale that allows us to even investigate that opportunity.” Additionally, for the Paris games, NBC will present the Gold Zone Channel streamed on Peacock. Similar to the NFL’s Red Zone channel, Gold Zone will jump from event to event providing viewers with live coverage immediately after they occur.

The excitement around the games is evident, and there are at least two main events that some might say are must-see TV:         

  • Any race that Katie Ledecky is swimming in. She currently has 10 Olympic medals, 26 World Championships, 16 World Records, and 37 American Records. When you mention the Olympic Mount Rushmore of Athletes, by the end of her career Katie Ledecky should be mentioned with the likes of Michael Phelps, and Usain Bolt.
  • USA Men’s & Women Basketball. With the Women’s roster not set, we will all be patiently waiting to see if Caitlin Clark makes the final roster, but even without her one cannot foresee any other outcome than Gold for the Women’s team. In regards to the Men’s team, international men’s basketball level of play is much more competitive than what it once was, but even with the rest of the world catching up Team USA boasts a lineup highlighted by Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Joel “The Process” Embiid. We may not see lopsided scores that “The Dream Team” won, but these two teams should both put on dominating performances.

The 2024 Paris Olympics may just be the biggest Olympics of all time…

Let’s go USA!