Sales solid as Games draw near, consortium says

Sponsorship activations already up and running on the CTV site include Coca-Cola and Samsung. The media group pres says TV main events nearing sold-out status, cites pricing flexibility as key to the consortium's sales strategy.

Keith Pelley is entering the home stretch.

With just over a month to go before the opening ceremony kickoff to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the president of the Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium – the vast media partnership that includes TV (across CTV and Rogers channels), radio, print, online and digital media – is feverishly negotiating advertising and sponsorship deals.

A number of sponsors – Omega, Coca-Cola, RBC, Samsung and Tim Hortons – have already activated their programs on

‘One of my favourites is Samsung,’ says Pelley. ‘They’re on our website with an interactive web application we created with them called ‘You Call The Play,’ which encourages fans to pretend they are a play-by-play broadcaster, record their ‘call’ online, and then post it…During the Games, we will put the best on television.’

Canada’s predominant donut maker has launched the Morning Newsletter brought to you by Tim Hortons, where people can visit the CTV Olympics website, sign up and receive daily news from the Games.

And considering we’re still somewhat ensconced in a recovering economy, he feels the 141 partners that have committed to buying media for the Games – including 42 multi-million dollar commitments from such corporate dynamos as Bell, General Motors Canada, the Royal Bank of Canada, VISA and RONA – is an impressive feat.

The broadcast of the opening and closing ceremonies, men’s and women’s gold medal hockey games, and the Bob McCown Olympic radio show, are close to being sold out, Pelley says, but there are differing levels of inventory left in the realms of other sports and events during the consortium’s 2,250 hours of Games TV coverage, 2,350 online hours and 200 hours of radio coverage.

Pelley attributes the sales success so far to the wide range of pricing available to interested advertisers.

‘The reason why we successfully have deals that range literally from $10,000 to north of $15 million, is because we can customize like never before,’ he explains. ‘You can reach every ethnic group, every demographic, every income tax bracket, and you can advertise regionally, by time slot or by event. It really allows for sponsors of any budget to be part of the Games.’

Pelley says the consortium’s affordability has attracted advertisers from the regional level, such as the B.C. Chiropractors Association and Lakehead University. to national advertisers like MAC Cosmetics, Highland Farms yogurt, Weight Watchers, Grey Wolf Resorts and Booster Juice.

‘These are partners that have never been part of the Games before,’ Pelley states. ‘It’s affordable, this is one place you get a chance to capture all Canadians, because it transcends sport.’

While NBC Universal predicts it’s going to lose as much as $200 million on the Olympics, Pelley says that despite the fact that ‘all our multi-million dollar deals are done,’ he’s hopeful the CTV/Rogers consortium will reach the profit podium.

‘With the swell of interest going on right now, we’re pretty confident we’re moving in the right direction,’ he confirms. ‘But we’re in the third period, heading to overtime, and you won’t really know until you’re through it.’