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NBC sells $1.4B in ads for Super Bowl, Winter Games

NBC expects $1.4 billion in ad revenue from the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, the payoff for its huge investment in sports programming.

The figure includes $900 million for the Olympics in South Korea, which start Feb. 9. Ad prices for the event are running higher than the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia, NBC executives said today on a conference call. The network is charging more than $5 million for a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl, in line with the past couple of years.

Ratings for many live sports, including the Olympics and pro football, have been on the decline in an era when viewers have so many choices for entertainment, from Snapchat to YouTube. But they’re still one of the few places advertisers are guaranteed to reach tens of millions of viewers at once, and TV networks compete fiercely for the rights to air big games. NBC parent Comcast Corp. has the U.S. rights to the Olympics through 2032 as part of a $12 billion deal, and it’s part of a trio of networks that take turns carrying the Super Bowl through 2022.

Fox, which aired the Super Bowl last year, reaped $500 million from the game, selling ads for about $5 million per 30-second spot. That game, a wild comeback victory by the New England Patriots over the Atlanta Falcons, drew an estimated audience of 111.3 million viewers, down slightly from the year before.

Super Bowl advertisers haven’t expressed concern about ratings declines for regular-season NFL games, said Dan Lovinger, executive vice president for ad sales at NBC Sports Group.

“All we’ve seen is enthusiasm for the Super Bowl,” he said. “The game almost transcends the season. It’s the only environment where viewers admit they look forward as much to the commercials as the content itself.”

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