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NBC Hits $1B in Olympic Ad Sales

NBC said it reached its stated goal of $1 billion in advertising sales for the Beijing Olympic Games, with the announcement coming one day prior to the Opening Ceremonies.

While the network said last week that it had sold 96% of Olympic avails, it did not release an update on remaining inventory.

"While we are thrilled with this milestone, we still expect to write more business as the Games begin and great stories continue to evolve,” said Seth Winter, senior vice president of sales and marketing for NBC Sports & Olympics.

NBC paid $894 million in rights fees for the Games, although production costs are expected to put the overall outlay at well over $1 billion.

However, NBC Universal and parent company General Electric will gain several other business advantages, to their bottom line and otherwise, from presenting the Games, so directly comparing costs and revenues is not a complete picture.

In addition to the typical draw of an Olympics, NBC’s sales success can probably also be attributed to the relative strength that marquee sporting events have shown recently on both broadcast and cable television, especially relative to entertainment programming.

NBC also said it received at least an anecdotal boost from its coverage of the qualification events for Olympic staple sports swimming, gymnastics and track and field.