Seth Winter, the NBCUniversal ad-sales chief who has helped lure hundreds of millions of dollars in Olympics and football advertising to the company over the years, is stepping back from his duties.
Winter, the executive vice president of ad sales for NBC Sports, will in October move into a consulting role and focus on NBCU’s bigger sports events. He is expected to continue in that function through 2018, when NBCUniversal’s networks will air a Super Bowl, another Olympics and the World Cup.
“Ever since 1947, when the World Series was first televised on NBC, our company has been making sports history. Beyond the playing field, and behind the scenes, Seth Winter has been a huge part of that legacy, and he will continue to be a big presence here in his new advisory role,” said Linda Yaccarino, NBCU’s chairman of ad sales, in a memo sent to employees Tuesday.
Over the years, Winter has developed a reputation for making big bets on the power of sporting events. He has been known to start his drive to win ad money months ahead of big events and has never been afraid to ask for top dollar. In the Spring of 2008, he raised eyebrows by seeking $3 million for a 30-second ad in Super Bowl XLIII, the first Super Bowl NBC had broadcast since 1997. The previous asking price, from Fox, had been $2.7 million. When the recession hit later that year, Winter and his team had to scramble to keep advertisers interested.
His most recent feat was notching more than $1.23 billion in national ad sales for NBCU’s broadcast of the Rio Olympics, compared with $1 billion for the company’s effort from London in 2012. Winter is also supervising NBC’s efforts behind both its “Sunday Night Football” franchise and a new package of “Thursday Night Football” games it’s sharing with CBS. According to people familiar with the situation, NBCU is using its Thursday games’ proximity to the holiday season to seek a bonus for marketers who are eager to pitch their wares close to Christmas.
The company did not identify a potential successor to take over Winter’s day-to-day responsibilities.
Winter began his tenure at NBC in 2000, when he joined as vice president of sales at MSNBC. He took over sales efforts for the company’s digital portfolio in 2004, and then was promoted to senior vice president of NBC Sports sales in 2006. Prior to joining NBC, Winter was vice president and general manager of WRBW in Orlando, a then-UPN affiliate from 1999 to 2000. From 1980 to 1999, Winter worked in various sales capacities at WOR in New York. He worked as an account executive at WDCA in Washington, D.C., from 1978 to 1980.