Small budget programmatic advertisers to give a shot at Olympic Games 2024

By Ralph Tathagata

More programmatic advertisers than ever will have a shot at the Olympic and Paralympic Games this year, and brands with smaller budgets can access huge Olympic audiences previously fenced off to big spenders. The Olympic Games will take place from 26 July to 11 August 2024.

What’s more, over 5,000 hours of live sports and ads running against that coverage will all be available to buy programmatically, via a partnership with ad tech provider The Trade Desk.

According to Ronnie Beach, U.S. sports lead at Wavemaker Sports, Live & Gaming, the 2024 Games could be “the ultimate case study” for programmatic buying on live sports coverage.

“Every time the Olympics come around, all of my clients are asking about how to get in without being a ring holder because of the massive investment that comes along with it,” he said in statement.

The statement added that nine new Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs) and Business 2 Business (B2B) brand clients had booked Olympic ads programmatically so far. In previous years, all but the largest advertisers would have been priced out of Olympic broadcast advertising. Interestingly, programmatic’s lower price of entry is currently spurring new demand from brands with smaller budgets.

Recall that in April, Dan Lovinger, of
NBCUniversal Media, an American multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate, who is also the president of Olympic and Paralympic partnerships, told a press call that the network had already surpassed its own record for digital advertising revenue on Olympics inventory, and had brought in $350 million from advertisers new to the Games.

NBCU’s live sports offering was attracting advertisers “that care about real time performance and understanding performance quickly,” and that had previously avoided TV inventory, according to Alison Levin, NBCU president of advertising and partnerships.

At the same time, Warner Bros. Discovery, which holds coverage rights across Europe via its Eurosport brand, has also begun to make inventory on its Olympic coverage available programmatically.

Visa, a commercial partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for 38 years, will be running ads but via a different route.

“We’re not doing any programmatic buying,” the payment company’s North America CMO Mary Ann Reilly told Digiday. She said that Visa is set to run ads on linear TV, Peacock and NBC’s Snapchat channels. It’s also running a branded film produced with the broadcaster, to coincide with the Olympic surfing competition held in Tahiti, French Polynesia.

“You’ve got a billion dollars worth of advertising running over 14 days — there’s going to be lots of advertisers that find their way in,” said Jeff Gagne, svp at Havas Media Network.

Visa’s exclusivity arrangements provided the right level of brand protection. The company is NBC’s exclusive “payments partner” for the Olympics, an agreement that means competitors can’t run ads in the same channels as Visa.

“We don’t have to worry about that,” Reilly said. “Bigger advertisers are going to decide to have a more holistic view.”

At Wavemaker, Beach said he’d not picked up on quality control concerns from clients. In any case, NBCU aims to preempt any concerns with an AI-enabled screening system.


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