As Twitter Advertising Remains In A Transitory State, Company Sets Expansion Of Olympics Partnership With NBCUniversal

As Twitter Advertising Remains In A Transitory State, Company Sets Expansion Of Olympics Partnership With NBCUniversal

May 3, 2023

Despite all of the upheaval at Twitter under new owner Elon Musk in recent months, the social media firm and NBCUniversal say they have gotten their earliest start yet in ramping up their Olympic Games partnership.

With more than a year to go before the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, Twitter announced during a presentation Wednesday to ad buyers that it is working with NBCU on expanding the scope of the team-up. Although timed with the official NewFronts overseen by the IAB this week, the presentation to advertisers wasn’t an official, IAB-sanctioned event and members of the press were not in attendance.

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The goal of the stepped-up partnership, according to NBCU, is to deliver more premium video, live moments and stories about athletes leading up to the Games. Plans also call for a way to let Twitter users follow athletes “all the way to the field of play.”

Snap, another longtime partner with NBCU, announced a similar Olympics initiative on Monday at its NewFront.

Advertising on Twitter, which historically contributed 90% of total company revenue, has been in an uncertain state since Musk’s $44 billion takeover of the company, though the platform retains significant influence. A number of major brands paused their sponsorship activities as chaos prevailed during the initial months after the acquisition last fall. Amid layoffs affecting 50% of the staff, several top ad and marketing execs with ties to advertisers exited the company. Verification of accounts has been a particularly sensitive point for many advertisers, though Musk has sought to provide clarity by enforcing payments in exchange for blue and gold check marks.

No financial details were released about the Olympics partnership. Musk has said in recent weeks the company is making positive strides and could reach cash-flow break-even by the end of this year, though he has also said in recent months that bankruptcy isn’t out of the question. Visibility into the company’s financials is limited now that it is privately held.

The announcement comes a couple of weeks after an onstage conversation between Musk and Linda Yaccarino, head of ads and partnerships for NBCU, at the Possible conference in Miami.

The Paris partnership is slated to begin next February with four months of “countdown coverage,” with key moments from the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and other highlights of the preparations.  

Once the Olympics and Paralympic Games begin, NBC Olympics will feature them on its Twitter handle and in Spanish on the Telemundo Sports Twitter account. Highlights will include medal-winning moments and portions of the opening and closing ceremonies. NBCU will also produce and post a daily live show on Twitter. Along with highlights of coverage, the daily show will offer athlete interviews as well as a look at happenings in and around Paris.

“For the first time since 2018, the Olympic and Paralympic Games will return to their true glory in 2024, with full stadiums and the world’s greatest athletes competing against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful cities in the world,” said Joe Varvara, global head of content partnerships at Twitter, noting that Paris is the city where the modern Olympic Games were conceived 130 years ago. “Together with NBCUniversal, we’re excited to bring you new opportunities to align with the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

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