NBC, LA 2028 to combine to sell sponsorships, ad time

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NBC Universal and the LA Olympics are going into business together, combining to package commercial time on all the network’s platforms with opportunities to sponsor the American team through 2028.

The deal is for contracts covering 2021 through 2028, the year the Summer Games return to the United States for the first time in 32 years.

NBC paid $7.75 billion for rights to broadcast the Olympics from 2022 through 2032, while the group organizing the 2028 Los Angeles Games has taken over the U.S. Olympic Committee’s marketing arm through those Olympics.

LA 2028 chairman Casey Wasserman said the new arrangement provides “simplicity and clarity and consistency in a market that provides very little of it in any medium.”

Part of LA 2028’s agreement with the USOC was that it would provide the federation $488 million from 2021 through 2028 in exchange for essentially taking over Olympic marketing in the United States through the Los Angeles Games.

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The deal with NBC provides the organizing committee a chance to “de-risk” — Wasserman’s word — some of its obligations to the city, the USOC and the International Olympic Committee by entering sponsorship deals that will presumably become more valuable because they’ll include ad time on NBC’s Olympic-based shows.

It also eliminates one of the gripes some Team USA sponsors had in the past: that signing on with the USOC did not guarantee them opportunity to place ads on NBC’s coverage of the Olympics.

The network, meanwhile, could find ways through the deal to reach new sponsors and offer more value in a changing media climate. In 1996, NBC aired 171 hours of the Atlanta Games on a single network. In 2016, NBC offered 6,755 hours of coverage via live-streaming and 11 networks that aired 2,084 hours.

“Together, we’re building what’s never been available before — the chance to be an exclusive partner of a monumental global movement for the next decade,” said Linda Yaccarino, NBC Universal’s chair of ad sales and client partnerships.

In 1984, Peter Ueberroth led an LA Games that showed how a city could leverage marketing opportunities, which in turn helped transform the Olympics into the colossus they are today. Wasserman, who has been in the business of sports and entertainment marketing for decades, said he was looking to help Los Angeles again reimagine the Olympic blueprint.

“I get paid to do this every day at my job,” he said. “This was a unique opportunity to enact a business structure that, frankly, the marketplace was asking for.”

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