The Economy of the Olympics

Is the Money Involved with Hosting & Advertising the Olympics Really Worth It?

It's All About the Advertising -- Or Is It?

The Olympics may not have the same advertising cache as the Super Bowl, but there is still some major money changing hands: NBC reports that it expects to make at least $1 billion in ad sales during the games. Whether that will be enough to make the games a moneymaker for the network is still unclear; NBC paid a reported $1.18 billion for the broadcast rights to the games. 

For the handful of companies that have decided to become official Olympics sponsors, the costs are yet higher. The right to use to the iconic Olympic rings in promotions cost these companies a reported $90 to $100 million, even before they paid to produce and air advertisements. 

Some experts question whether consumers notice (or care about) official sponsorship enough to make it worth the high costs. Others, however, point out that the Olympics' appeal to a wide demographic range and thus present a unique opportunity for a company to align itself with a very strong brand. 

"So, combine the excellence of multi-sport competition, infrequent occurrence, national pride, and the spectacle and story beyond the games themselves...  it's crystal clear why the Olympic Rings have a golden glow to them," said Harvard Business School professor Stephen Greyser, in a release from the school.