Olympic Advertising Costs

The Olympic Games is arguably one of the world’s largest promotional platform; there are more than 10,500 athletes, from 204 countries, competing in 47 events. The television and press coverage worldwide is extensive for the 10 day length of the Games.  Top-level athletes get coverage not only from their home news outlets, but from additional media worldwide.

Americans view Olympic Games the most when the event is held on their own land. According to Nielsen Company, of the non-U.S.-based Games, the 2008 Beijing Games’ opening ceremonies had the top number of U.S. views with 18/8 percent of TV households, and 34.9 million viewers. This compares to the 40 million viewers for the 1996 Atlanta Games. The results are not yet in on the viewer counts for the 2012 London Games, but it should be a good result for advertisers.


Advertising costs are not cheap, but they are not necessarily as expensive as other sports events (consider the roughly $2 million price tag for 30 seconds of advertising for the Super Bowl) or popular entertainment (Sunday Night Football at $500,000).

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the advertising advantages and disadvantages for the Olympics.
  2. View the statistics on Nielsen’s Web site: http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/media_entertainment/summer-olympics-openers-draw-big-crowds-and-advertising-dollars/
  3. Divide students into teams. Have the teams develop a list of potential target markets for Olympic events. Consider sports, countries, cultures, spending, etc.
  4. For each different target market, what companies would most benefit from advertising?
  5. Have students visit Nielsen’s Web site www.nielsen.com.
  6. What are their findings for viewership and advertising costs?
  7. How does Olympic viewership compare with other events?

Source:  Nielsen Company, 7/25/12

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