Olympic Games Advertising Gives Super Bowl Advertising A Complex

By Chris Isidore for Business Journalism: Reporters who want to cover the business side of the Olympics will find it’s easier to do than covering the dollar and cents of most professional American sports, whose team owners are far less forthcoming about opening their books.
The International Olympic Committee releases its finances every four years. The most recent report, which covers the period from 1997 through the 2000 games in Sydney, can be found on the group’s Web site, www.Olympics.org, under the heading of Organization.
For the record, the IOC will see broadcast revenue this year of just under $1.5 billion, up from $1.3 billion it got at Sydney in 2000 and $738 million it got from the less lucrative Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 1998. Of TV rights fees for Athens, $798 million, or just over half, comes from NBC Universal, the General Electric unit that is broadcasting the games in the United States.
NBC has the U.S. broadcast rights through the 2012 games in a yet-to-be-selected city. Its rights fees for the upcoming games are as follows:
$614 million for the 2006 Torino Winter Games.
$894 million for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games.
$820 million for the 2010 Vancouver, B.C. Winter Games.
$1.181 billion for the 2012 Summer Games.
Despite the steep rights fees, General Electric has been able to report a profit from its Olympic broadcasts, unlike the losses reported by networks paying top dollar sports rights fees, such as the NFL, Nascar or Major League Baseball.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Indiana Gividen says:

    I speculate losses reported by networks, paying fees to NFL, MLB, Nascar and others, are simply accounting tactics to avoid tax penalties.
    I also think that purchasing ad time during almost all sporting events is a poor investment. I think that the best way to reach the particular sports market is to place advertising inside the event. Boards, logos, idols and cute models connect much more effectively with the consumer.

  2. yeah, indiana. you really sold me on your ideas. never advertise during a sporting event. brilliant. and i also am sure you know enough about US tax penalties to make those claims.