NBC, the perennial U.S. broadcaster of the Olympics, is thrilled to announce it just might break even for the London 2012 Games.
"We are way ahead of where we thought we'd be," NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke announced today.
Where they thought they would be was $200 million in the hole, even after selling $1 billion in advertising for the 16 days of the Games, $150 million more than in Beijing. The broadcaster also sold $60 million in online advertising, triple its previous sales because it is live-streaming the Games for the first time.
NBC has had to fend off much grumbling over its time delay strategy to shift crowd-winning broadcasts to prime time despite the five-hour time difference with London. Because of that, NBC had expected ratings to be down from the Beijing Games four years ago by as much as 20 per cent. They're not, Burke said: they're up by 9 per cent, thanks to swimmer Michael Phelps and the U.S. women's gynmastic team.
NBC paid $1.2 billion for the broadcast rights.