Olympics merchandise rakes in the bucks


You already know that NBC Universal sold more than $1 billion of advertising for its broadcasts of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. But advertising wasn’t all it sold. It also sold stuff – lots and lots of stuff. In fact, it’s still selling stuff even now that all of the ads have run.

NBC Universal’s Online Store says it experienced a big jump in sales of Olympics merchandise over the 2006 Torino Winter Olympic Games. Jeffrey Rotenberg, Director NBC Universal Retail Operations, says online sales were running 81% ahead of the Torino games. In addition, total online store visits were up 56% over the same timeframe for the Torino Games and sales of specific items were up as much as 146%.

Items that have been especially popular include the collectible Charles Fazzino Olympics pins, the Ralph Lauren Driving Cap, the DVD of the spectacular opening ceremonies, the "swimmers shirt" and Nike apparel, including T-shirts and the men’s and women’s windbreakers, which have been seen most often on gymnasts as they stand on the medal platforms.

"The Beijing Games have captured the public’s imagination and their interest in the games is sparking very strong sales," said Rotenberg. "People want to own a part of the games and what better way to remember the excitement than to have a collectible pin, a DVD or a windbreaker as seen on the athletes," he added.

The NBC Universal online store offered more than 100 items at the start of the Beijing Olympic Games. Product will stay up online as it remains available. The NBC online store is already preparing for Vancouver product, which should be available by this holiday season. The Vancouver Olympic Games begin in February, 2010.