Updated: Silver Linings Olympic Pay Booked: Sochi Ad Price Falls 18%, London Remains Gold Standard

Editor’s Note: The Sochi Olympic ad price data published in this article was derived from aggregate media spending from agencies processing actual buys through Mediaocean’s system. An NBC Sports spokesman said the average prime-time price paid by Sochi Winter Olympics advertisers was much higher than the $510,000 per 30-second unit paid by the Mediaocean shops. He declined to give a precise number, but said it was “well above $600,000” on average. The Sochi Olympic buys processed through Mediaocean accounted for about $600 million, or roughly 75% of the $800 million NBC says it took in from the Games.

Advertisers paid an average of $510,000 per prime-time 30-second spot during NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympic Games from Sochi, Russia -- down more than 18% from the price paid by advertisers during the network's coverage of the Summer Games in London two years earlier.



The price -- which is derived from the actual invoiced media buys processed and paid by the major agency holding companies to NBC via Mediaocean -- is based on actual buys, not estimates. It does not include ad deals that NBC processed with agencies or direct with advertisers not utilizing Mediaocean's data-processing and bill payment systems.

The audience for NBC's coverage of the Sochi games was down 12% from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, but up 6% from the 2006 Torino Olympic Games.

Total ad buys processed by Mediaocean from the opening of the close of the Sochi Games were $683 million, down 4.2% from the $731 million it processed for the London Games. The highest 30-second price paid for the Sochi games was $900,000 vs. $1 million for the London Games.

NBC paid $775 million for the rights to televise the Sochi Games in the U.S., but also amortized it via its local market coverage during the so-called February “sweeps,” when Nielsen sets local market ratings -- and by proxy, advertising rates -- for unmetered local TV markets.

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