NBC Sports Taps Katy Perry As Sochi Olympics Promotion Intensifies

Peacock to craft nearly 500 promotional pieces to draw fans to event

Katy Perry NBC Sochi Olympics
Frazer Harrison/FilmMagic

Your Thanksgiving holiday is NBCUniversal’s Olympics call to arms.

The Peacock will use its Turkey Day broadcasts of “Today,” the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (and an afternoon rerun) and The National Dog Show to burnish its coming 2014 broadcasts of the Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia. Viewers of these events are likely to see a promo featuring various Olympic athletes celebrating moments of achievement all with Katy Perry’s “Roar” as a backdrop.

“We will kick off on Thanksgiving our next tier,” said John Miller, chief marketing officer of NBC Sports Group. “At that point, we will have run about 20% of our effort. An additional 80% will happen up to Sochi itself.” In all, said Miller, NBCU will create close to 500 different pieces of on-air promotion, ranging from spots for its top 30 station affiliates that may play up athletes who hail from specific regions, to commercials for cable and satellite distributors who may call attention to the NBCU broadcasts to subscribers. The company will even craft promos for use in Walmart, at gas stations and health clubs.

Like the Super Bowl, the Olympics are one of TV’s biggest marquee events, but generating viewership is of critical importance to NBCUniversal. The Sochi Olympics is the first to be broadcast under a deal that valued at around $4.4 billion that gives NBCU the rights to telecast the Games through 2020. In a break with what has been tradition, the company expects to broadcast all events live on TV or digitally, rather than reserving the best events for tape-delayed coverage during primetime.

NBCU’s Olympics coverage will start February 6, with events such as team figure skating, said Miller. The event’s opening ceremonies will take place February 7.

Perry’s “Roar” came to the attention of executives about three months ago, Miller said, and he feels it helps convey the feelings athletes feel when they achieve a victory or personal milestone. “’Roar’ celebrates the jubilation of the athlete in a moment of triumph as well as the pure joy that comes from watching the Games,” he said. NBCU will have license to use the song for commercial purposes through the end of the year, Miller said, with an option to renew if there’s a need.

NBCU first started putting the Sochi Games in the spotlight Oct. 29,, launching a promotional piece across 20 different networks at the same time. Since that day, viewers have seen a greater presence accorded to an on-screen insignia that pairs the company’s famous Peacock with the iconic Olympic rings.