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NBCUniversal projecting over $1.2bn in ad sales from Tokyo 2020

U.S mass-media conglomerate NBCUniversal is expecting to bring in more than $1.2bn in national ad sales during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which would beat its previous sales record from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

In a conference call with media reported by Adweek, Dan Lovinger, executive vice president of ad sales for NBC Sports Group said: “We feel strongly we’re going to surpass that $1.2 billion high-water mark.”

“The Olympics is one of the most brand-safe environments for advertiser campaigns, and families and groups gather to watch. We are pacing significantly ahead of where we were at this same point prior to the Rio Games.”

Variety reported that NBCU had garnered about $250m in profit from its Rio 2016 coverage.

With advertisers cautious about declining numbers for primetime events, NBCU adjusted their sales strategy, allowing them to buy key audience demographics, including viewers between 18 and 49, and viewers between 25 and 54, rather than by household rating.

“We are trying to democratize access to the Games, so that maybe those who have not bought it in the past because they had to have a demographic guarantee can,” Lovinger said, according to Variety.

So far the Tokyo Olympics have attracted early advertisers from categories like auto, travel, beverage, tech and financial services, and the deals made are higher compared to previous Olympics, Lovinger said. He added NBCU sales executives were also reaching out to Japanese advertisers who might want to reach out to an American demographic.

While time-zone difficulties have been a challenge for American audiences to catch the Olympics previously, Lovinger said this wasn’t an issue for the Tokyo 2020, as morning events will be seen live at prime-time moments in the U.S.

While NBCU is launching an ad-supported streaming service in 2020, it’s unclear whether Olympics-related content will be available on it for both viewers and advertisers. “We haven’t actually made any decisions yet on the new OTT platform as to what will be and what won’t be [on the platform], from an Olympics perspective,” Lovinger said.

NBC holds the US rights to the Olympics in a deal from 2013 to 2020, which has since been extended to 2032.