March 29, 2017 / 9:31 PM / 5 months ago

NBCUniversal slightly ahead of Sochi for 2018 Winter Olympics ad sales

The NBC and Comcast logo are displayed on top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, formerly known as the GE building, in midtown Manhattan in New York July 1, 2015.Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) - Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal is pacing ahead in the amount of advertising inventory it has sold for next February’s Winter Olympics compared with the same time four years ago, NBC Sports executives said on Wednesday.

NBCUniversal is paying $963 million for the right to broadcast the Winter Olympics from PyeongChang, South Korea, as part of a $4.38 billion media rights deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that carries through the 2020 Summer Olympics from Tokyo.

NBCU has a separate $7.65 billion deal with the IOC for U.S. rights through 2032.

NBC Sports executives met with advertisers on Wednesday to get them to purchase ads for next year's Olympics.

NBC Sports executives said on a conference call with reporters that they were “a little bit” ahead of where they were at this point four years ago. Executives would not give any dollar amount for the advertising commitments for PyeongChang, which is costing NBC nearly $200 million more than the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, which cost the network $775 million.

NBC brought in more than $800 million in ad sales for the Sochi Olympics.

The Winter Olympics begin Feb. 8, 2018, only four days after NBC’s airing of Super Bowl LII. Dan Lovinger, executive vice president, said NBC will offer advertisers the chance to package ad buys across both events. It will be the first time since 1992 that any U.S. network will air both events in the same year.

As it did with the 2016 Rio Olympics, NBC is working with Snap Inc’s Snapchat, giving the mobile app access to Olympic content, which will be curated by BuzzFeed. NBCU, which is famously guarded about giving access to official Olympic video to other outlets, has invested in both companies.

For the Winter Olympics, NBC will be able to sell Snapchat’s geofilters and lenses for advertisers to sponsors, which can cost as much as $700,000 for 24 hours. It will be the first time Snap has allowed a third party to sell those to advertisers.

Reporting by Tim Baysinger; Editing by Leslie Adler

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