Mark Lazarus: Delivering the Biggest Winter Games in History

Leading up to the Winter Games, NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus discussed the NBC Sochi Olympics effort at the Jan. 7 press event held in Studio 8H at 30 Rock.

On Looking Forward to Sochi: "February 6 can’t get here fast enough. We are so excited, we’re getting ready to move ourselves to Russia and do the best job we can delivering the Games to the American people. Our plan is pretty straight forward, we’re going to deliver the most comprehensive coverage the Winter Olympics have ever had."

On Online Coverage: "Every event is going to be available live online for the first time ever in a Winter Games. We did this in London, and it was a great success for us, and for fans and viewers. Most of the online coverage will be authenticated, and the reason is that we are moving towards a time when all of our sports, and all sports in general, are going to be authenticated in the very near future. We believe in it and are fully supporting the model, and it’s critical to who we are. We will not, however, stream the Opening Ceremony on February 7. We will package that event for primetime. We think it’s very important that we package that event with all the Russian culture and history that’s being creatively expressed, much of that program might not make sense to viewers without the context that Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira are going to bring to that. We think it’s very important that we do that, and it’s the right model. It worked for us in London, and it’s going to work for us again."

On Primetime Television Coverage: "We will once again emphasize our packaged primetime show. The time difference doesn’t allow for us to be live in primetime. We will package and curate it in a way that makes it a place that huge gatherings of family and friends want to gather and get together in front of their TV. Between that and the 12 hours a day live on NBC Sports Network, we’re in a very good position to deliver the best events to the most viewers."

On Ad Sales: "Where families gather, advertisers follow. And our ad sales are at an all-time record for the Winter Games. We previously said that we’re over $800 million, and we’re going north, we’re doing quite well. Marketers and sponsors are buying one of the very few events that gather large numbers across all demographics in front of their televisions."

On Marketing the NBC Sochi Olympics: "Our marketing plan is the biggest in Winter Games history. (NBCUniversal CEO) Steve Burke mentioned how the whole company gets around the Olympics. We have something called Symphony. This is a Gold Symphony priority. Our cross-channel activity starts Monday, January 13. We have developed with the architect John Miller, our CMO, an eight-tier plan: on-channel, off-channel, online, in all forms of media. Whether it’s mass transit or other outlets, we will be everywhere for fans to know when to find us and how to find us and where to look for the Olympic Games. As Steve mentioned NBCU promotes the Games, all the entities of the company come together to promote the Games. In turn, the Olympics promotes the rest of the company during the Games, whether it’s NBC’s primetime lineup, or NBC’s brand new late night lineup, as Jimmy Fallon is so excited to start, we’re thrilled that he’s starting in the middle of the Games.

On NBCUniversal's 'Symphony' Promotion During the Games: "We’re going to use the Olympics to talk about our sports portfolio. 2013 was a great year for NBC sports. 2014 is off to a great start with record setting numbers for the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, and two NFL Playoff games. We’re off to a great start, and we have a lot more coming, and we’ll use the Olympics to let the U.S. television and digital audiences know that. NBCSN will be in 85 million homes as of February 1. That’s new information. That is growth of some nearly five million homes over where it is just today. We’ll be in the final stages of our very successful year with the Barclays Premier League coming out in March, April, and May. We have another installment of our outdoor hockey Stadium Series, live from Soldier Field on March 1. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are coming as well. Our golf and Triple Crown horse racing championship seasons come on the heels of the Olympics, as well as a brand-new launch — a daily NASCAR show on NBCSN, as we build towards NASCAR coming to NBC and NBCSN next year."

For more NBC Sochi Olympics quotes from Mark Lazarus, click here.