The Olympics Aren’t So Golden

by Lee Sparrow | April 21, 2016

A collection of hands reach toward a central goal before a sporting event.As you’re likely aware, the 2016 Summer Olympics will take place from August 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro,  Brazil.  Millions will be tuning in to see if Michael Phelps can make a strong return to the pool after a short stint in retirement, or to see if the Women’s National Soccer Team can win a gold medal after their World Cup dominance.  But who will those viewers be and would your firm gain from targeting them?

Stations believe your firm will benefit from a presence in the Olympics via various sponsorship options or through paying a premium price for spots airing during the events.  But we have a different opinion on the matter, and it’s one we’ve stood by since the inception of the agency: it’s expensive, you can’t “own it” and the viewers aren’t likely your target audience.

Companies pay big bucks to air during the Olympics, but that doesn’t mean you have to.  In fact, stations offer to combine the money you would spend on regular daytime programming into 1 or 2 spots that would air during an event.  You lose out on precious frequency by doing this.  Quality is not always better than quantity.  Paying premium pricing to reach viewers who aren’t your target is not investment “gold.”

We want your phones to ring, so we stick by our tried and true strategy of placing in daytime on broadcast television.  The majority of the Olympic events will air during Prime Time, which is outside of the recommended time period.  Also, the audience will be skewed as events will not only air on NBC broadcast, but NBC-owned stations requiring a cable subscription.  Viewership on cable is significantly lower, as evidenced by the recent NCAA men’s basketball championship airing on TBS.

In summary, the best results are yielded by airing in normal daytime programming.  The Olympics is a scheduled event that we’ve been planning for since we started negotiating last summer.  All spots scheduled during daytime events within that 2-week window will be “made good” during a different week to air within the regular daytime lineup.  The Olympics is a prestigious event that garners a unique audience, but when it comes to making the phone ring, the games aren’t a perfect 10.