Comcast's NBC to televise Super Bowl, Winter Olympics next February

Comcast Corp.-owned NBCUniversal will have a sports blowout next February as it televises both the South Korea Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl, the first time one network has aired two of the biggest sporting events of the year since 1992.

The NFL championship and the Olympics together are likely to generate more than $1 billion in ad revenue for Comcast.

NBC officials said Wednesday that ad sales for the PyeongChang Olympics were pacing slightly ahead of the last Winter Games, in Sochi, Russia. They expect a big boost from advertising on social-media platforms.

NBC disclosed an expanded partnership with Snap Inc., the newest of those platforms, that could lead to $50 million to $75 million in new ad revenue, which would be split between Snap and NBC. 

Comcast, the cable and entertainment giant, owns NBC and has invested $500 million in Snap.

Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, said that 34 million Snapchat viewers watched Olympic content from the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro last year and that he expects the audience to grow for South Korea. Those Snapchat viewers watched 230 million minutes of Olympics-related content.

BuzzFeed will help produce the content for Snap. Comcast has also invested $400 million into BuzzFeed through NBCUniversal.

NBC had a partnership with Snap for Rio but it was not announced until shortly before the Games.

"We did not have an 11-month runway to get out and sell social," Dan Lovinger, executive vice president for advertising sales for the NBC Sports Group, said on a conference call Wednesday.

NBC will be delivering audience to advertisers on both television and digital properties for the South Korea Olympics, Lovinger said, noting that the days of basing the Olympic audience solely on Nielsen household TV ratings are over.

As viewers toggle between TV and digital sites, NBC will be counting them as part of the Olympics audience. Lovinger noted that viewers watched 191 billion minutes of Rio Olympics coverage and 3.5 billion of those minutes were watched on digital platforms such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.

Even though digital audience has grown substantially, it still represents only about 2 percent of  Olympics consumption, based on NBC figures.

As concerns mount over whether millennials watch sports, Lovinger noted that the Rio Olympics delivered to advertisers a bigger millennial audience over two weeks than ESPN delivered over a year.  

Under Comcast's ownership, NBCUniversal has invested billions of dollars into the Olympics TV rights and owns them through 2032.