Games Spur Spending

With more than a dozen advertisers getting category exclusivity on NBC’s broadcast of the Winter Olympics next month, competing brands are buying sig nificant amounts of commercial time on other networks.

Advertisers with category exclusivity for the Olympics, which runs Feb. 8-24, in clude General Mo tors (domestic auto), Mazda (foreign auto), AT&T, Visa, Johnson & Johnson (pharmaceuticals), Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, Delta, McDon ald’s, UPS, Home Depot, Kodak, Micro soft and Texaco.

“You have an old-fashioned ad war going on right now in the tele communications category,” said one network sales executive. “Sprint, Verizon and Cingular are not going to give up the market to AT&T, so they will fight back by advertising on the other networks.” In the video-game category, the executive said competitors of Microsoft’s Xbox are also trying to ensure that the brand does not dominate prime time.

“The movie studios also are not going to reach their entire target audiences in the Olympic coverage alone,” the executive said.

Network execs said marketers shut out of the Olympics who are advertising on other outlets include American Ex press, Coors, Pepsi, 7Up, Fed eral Express, Continental, Wendy’s, Burger King, Toyota, Nissan, Hon da, Kia, Fuji and the major pharmaceutical companies. Coors and American Ex press will both sponsor Survivor 4, which premieres Feb. 28.

“As well as the Olympics will do in the ratings, there are people who won’t watch it,” said Marc Goldstein, national broadcast president for MindShare. “The Games don’t get 100 percent of the audience—nor does the Super Bowl.”

CBS has picked up $80 million in first-quarter-scatter ad dollars, with eight of its shows overdelivering on the upfront share estimates. The Peacock net has taken in about $110 million in first-quarter scatter, according to media buyers, with approximately $36 million of that for the Olympics.