NEW YORK — NBC has made it official: All of the commercial spots on the 2000 Olympic Games are sold out, harvesting a record $900 million in gross network sales and guaranteeing that NBC will end up with black ink in the Olympics ledger books.
More than two months ago, Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Sports, predicted at an elaborate press briefing here that NBC would chalk up $900 million (Daily Variety, June 29).
One of the main reasons for NBC’s success, said Keith Turner, president of NBC Sales, in a statement, is that it has cut back the commercial time within each hour from the 9-1/2 minutes during the 1996 Atlanta Games to nine minutes in this year’s Games from Sydney.
“I’m not surprised that NBC has done so well because it’s scheduling event programming within an uncluttered environment,” says Bill Cella, executive VP of broadcasting for Universal McCann, the media-buying firm.
The revenues from the Sydney Olympics represent a 32% increase over the $680 million NBC chalked up in advertising dollars from the 1996 Atlanta Games.
There’ll be more on-air coverage of the Olympics than ever before, encompassing 441.5 hours on NBC and its sister cable networks CNBC and MSNBC. Four years ago, NBC, the sole outlet for the Games, carried a total of 171.5 hours.