May 31, 2024

Elections, Olympics to Net $12B in Ad Spend

By Jay Bemis | Advertising Systems Inc.
Ready, set … vote? Not only is summer heating up, but so are advertising decisions on this eve of both the 2024 Olympics in Paris and the 2024 election cycle in the United States, where national, state and local elections already have been attracting ad dollars, but war chests are far from spent.

Between the Olympics and the elections, advertisers are expected to cough up about $12 billion by the time the next few months are over.

The bulk of that dozen billion will be spent on 2024 election races, which are estimated to generate $10.2 billion in ad revenue by the time Election Day arrives on Nov. 5. The Olympics, meanwhile, are forecast to generate $1.8 billion in ad spending — with NBCUniversal already having booked $1.2 billion in ad revenue for its rights to the July 26-Aug. 11 games.

About Those Election Results

Estimating the $10 billion-plus in ad revenue for the 2024 elections is AdImpact, a firm that tracks political spending from campaigns and outside groups. Its projections, released this past fall, say that of the $10.2 billion in election spending overall, the presidential race alone will reap $2.7 billion from advertisers.

“It’s no surprise that the presidential race is expected to drive the spending, as it does every election cycle,” NBC News has reported on the estimates.

“But the $10.2 billion projection for 2024 would be a 13% increase over the $9 billion spent in 2020 … and it represents a massive increase from the $2.6 billion spent during the 2016 election cycle.”

In addition to the $2.7 billion in ad revenue expected from the 2024 presidential race, $2.1 billion will be spent on Senate races across the country, AdImpact says, followed by $1.7 billion to be spent on House races, $361 million on gubernatorial elections and $3.3 billion on other elections.

Something programmatic ad buyers and marketing specialists may want to know, or already do: Political advertisers are expected to spend heavily on linear TV once again this election cycle, and local TV is expected to attract more political advertising dollars this year compared to 2020, according to a January report from S&P Global Ratings.

“We continue to believe (traditional) TV is more attractive than other forms of media for political advertisers given its significant reach and ability to target voters in select districts,” S&P Global said.

Let Those Parisian Games Begin

S&P Global also is projecting the $1.8 billion in ad revenues for the Olympic games, with The Hollywood Reporter last month reporting that NBCUniversal’s lion’s share of that — or should we say peacock’s share — will be $1.2 billion.

Dan Lovinger, president of Olympic and Paralympic Sales for NBCUniversal, confirmed that amount last month and suggested it could be higher.

In a conference call with reporters, he said he expects that the company will surpass the advertising record for any Olympics by the time the torch is lit in Paris in July. The previous ad record occurred during the 2020 Tokyo games, which, coincidentally, netted just over $1.2 billion.

Interestingly, Lovinger also told reporters that the Olympics are in a prime position to capitalize on the women’s sports boom driven by the recent record-breaking NCAA women’s tournament, noting that “we’ve seen advertisers specifically come to the Olympics to support female Olympians.”

“The Olympics are also the perfect venue to reach female sports fans in an environment that celebrates and salutes women’s athletics at the highest level,” he said.

“With the gargantuan ratings recently seen in the women’s NCAA Tournament, the opportunity for advertisers to support women in sport and reach female viewers has never been greater with the Olympics. In fact, over half of our primetime coverage is dedicated to women’s sports during the games, and 99% of broadcast primetime female coverage in a given Olympic year occurs during the Olympics.”

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