Amid rumblings that the Japanese government may cancel the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and bid for the 2032 Games, Comcast and NBC executives said they were “super hopeful and optimistic” about the Summer Olympics being played and said advertisers shared in that belief.
“I believe there will be an Olympics. I hope there will be an Olympics,” said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts (via Deadline). “That’s our best intelligence at this time.”
The Tokyo Games are scheduled to begin July 23 (and run through Aug. 9) after being delayed from their original 2020 date due to the COVID-19 pandemic and major concerns about bringing athletes, media, and organizers from all over the world to congregate for three weeks in one place.
But COVID cases and deaths are again on the rise in Japan, leading to the rumors that the Olympics might have to be canceled.
Yet if the 2021 Olympics are canceled, Roberts attempted to put a good face on what it means for Comcast and NBC.
“We have another Olympics coming in Beijing seven months later,” Roberts said, referring to the Winter Games scheduled to be played beginning Feb. 4, 2022.
NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell added that advertisers are still showing confidence in the Tokyo Games being played. Last March, the conglomerate announced that more than $1.25 billion in national ad commitments had been purchased and reworked many of those agreements once the 2020 Olympics were delayed. At the time, Roberts acknowledged that there would be no losses, yet no profits either.
Also during the earnings call, Shell talked about NBCUniversal acquiring WWE Network and the company’s catalog of streaming wrestling content. According to TheWrap, NBCUniversal paid $1 billion over five years to add WWE Network to its streaming service Peacock.
Calling WWE “kind of a perfect product for us,” Shell explained the benefits of adding WWE’s 17,000 hours content to Peacock.
“[The agreement] includes thousands of hours of programming that were behind a paywall that we’ll now put up as a free service on Peacock,” said Shell, “which will not only enhance the brand of WWE, but we can monetize with advertising. We get the events that were behind the paywall, that used to be pay-per-view, to drive our $4.99 premium version of Peacock.”
WWE Network content will be added to the Peacock service on March 18.