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NBCU Gets Ready to Promote a Summer Olympics That Won’t Start Until 2020

NBCUniversal’s coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics won’t commence for months. Getting audiences excited about the event has to start now.

Commencing tomorrow, NBC Sports will start promoting the event across a bevy of different NBCU-owned TV outlets and other venues, all in the hopes of sparking fans to follow the path of various gold medal hopefuls to the big event. The Tokyo Olympics will be the last televised under a current $4.4 billion deal between the media company, its parent Comcast and the International Olympic Committee that lasts through 2020. But NBCU and the Olympics are tied together for years. Another pact valued at $7.75 billion gives Comcast and its conglomerate the U.S. rights to broadcast the Games across TV, digital and mobile from 2021 and 2032.

Getting people excited about the Olympics isn’t a task that can slip until a few months before the broadcasts start. Indeed, NBCU last July transformed its Universal HD cable network into the Olympic Channel, which carries coverage of Olympics-related sports.

“What most people don’t realize is that we are essentially launching a new show every four years – from summer to summer and from winter to winter,” says Jenny Storms, chief marketing officer of NBC Sports, in an interview. “The interesting challenge we have is in focusing on athletes. The majority of them are new. The names are new, and so are the personalities.”

Over the next several weeks, viewers of NBCU properties such as NBC, NBCSN, and the Olympic Channel will see a promotional video touting the Tokyo event, with plenty of scenes of various athletes in competition. The spot will also air on NBC affiliates and the company’s regional sports networks.  The spots  are expected to air within broadcasts The Open, Rugby World Cup Sevens, U.S. Swimming National Championships, Tour de France, Diamond League Track & Field, and NASCAR, as well as during Tuesday night’s airing of “America’s Got Talent.”  NBC’s “Today” is also expected to air a segment about the event.

NBCU believes audience viewership patterns for its Tokyo broadcast will be similar to what took place during its recent broadcast of this year’s Winter Olympics from PyeongChang, South Korea, says Storms, where daytime events end up airing during U.S. primetime.

NBC’s Olympics digital and social platforms will continue to focus on Tokyo 2020 content through the end of July, including through coverage of the swimming and gymnastics events, and the company will email content focusing on athletes to watch in Tokyo to more than one million people.




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