Comcast Corp. (CMCSA:US)’s NBC Universal broke even on its broadcast of the London Olympic Games, according to Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group, who cited strong ratings for the telecast.
“We were fortunate many U.S. teams and athletes performed very well, and that was good for our ratings,” Lazarus said today at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit hosted by Bloomberg Link in New York.
Advertising sales for the games soared to about $1.25 billion, exceeding NBC’s forecast and rising almost 50 percent from the Beijing Olympics four years ago. Lazarus said on Aug. 2 the network had a “small chance” for a profit after initially projecting a $200 million loss. NBC Universal paid about $1.18 billion for U.S. TV rights to the Olympics.
The London Games were the most watched U.S. television event ever, drawing 219.4 million U.S. viewers.
NBC Universal, controlled by Philadelphia-based Comcast, spent $4.38 billion for future U.S. TV Olympics rights through 2020. Comcast expects the 2014 and 2016 games to be profitable, Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts said last year.
Comcast rose 2 percent to $34.39 at 12:24 p.m. in New York. The stock had gained 42 percent this year as of yesterday and ranks first for 2012 return in the S&P 500 Media Index (S5MEDA) of 16 companies.
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