Winter Olympics TV Ad Spending Has Been on the Rise, Could Top $1B

February 8, 2018

This article is included in these additional categories:

Advertising Trends | Broadcast & Cable | Industries | Spending & Spenders | Sports | Television | TV Advertising

If recent trends hold, the Winter Olympics starting today in PyeongChang (the Opening Ceremony is tomorrow) will set new highs in linear TV coverage hours and ad spend. Recent data from Kantar Media shows that TV coverage and ad spending have been rising over the past few Winter Games, with TV ad spending on the event poised to top $1 billion this year.

In 2014, TV ad spending on the Sochi Winter Olympics totaled $977 million, per the report. That represents a more-than-25% hike on the 2002 total of $772 million for the Salt Lake City event. There was a dip in ad spending from 2006 ($831 million) to 2010 ($809 million) – a similar dip could prevent this year’s event from topping $1 billion.

Yet the large number of hours planned for coverage this year, along with rising ad prices, suggest that such a dip is not forthcoming.

This year NBC Universal plans to air 625 hours of coverage on its linear TV channels, per Kantar Media, which would mark a considerable 16% rise from the 2014 Winter Olympics (539 hours). It would also represent an almost doubling of linear TV coverage hours from the 2002 Winter Games (360 hours).

NBC also plans to show more than 1,800 hours of live streaming video coverage during the 17-day event, up from more than 1,000 hours during the 2014 Games.

During those 2014 Games, NBCU cable properties accounted for 66% of the total programming hours and 54% of ad time. The NBC network, though, featured 54% more ad time per hour (10:38) than the cable networks (6:55), a result of the network broadcasting the featured events during primetime, when monetization possibilities are higher.

Kantar Media also notes that in 2014, the cable networks generally only aired coverage during the day, ending at primetime when the broadcast network would take over. This year, though, NBC’s lead cable network will be airing 24-hour coverage for 10 days during the event.

Super Bowl Ads Cost >30 Times More

The 2014 Winter Olympics – with its $977 million in ad revenues – were the third-largest sporting event of the year in terms of ad revenues. The Games trailed the NFL post-season ($1.23 billion) and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament ($1.13 billion).

The Olympics, of course, take place over a much longer period of time, and so it’s no surprise that ad prices are much lower than they are in the NFL post-season.

While Kantar Media cautions that ad prices are dependent on several factors and vary by individual advertiser, the average price for a 30-second TV spot in 2014 was $112,800.

How does that compare to the Super Bowl? In 2014, a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl cost $3.6 million on average, more than 30 times the price of an ad during the Winter Olympics.

For more details on Winter Olympics advertising, including top-spending categories and brands, see Kantar Media’s report here.

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