NBC launches Fortius program to help Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls build their brands
The GIST: Teamwork makes the Olympic dream work. NBC launched Fortius on Thursday, a program to help between 15 and 20 Olympic or Paralympic hopefuls build their brands ahead of next year’s Games — and potentially ensure NBC’s return on investment for the event.
The details: Staff across the company’s portfolio, including NBC Sports and Bravo, will assist athletes with social media strategy, including specifics like when and what to post. The NBC team will also help athletes understand social media metrics, ultimately allowing them to judge brand deals and promotional work for themselves.
- Athletes expected to participate in the free service include volleyball player Jordan Thompson, surfer Carissa Moore, rock climber Brooke Raboutou, and breakdancer Sunny Choi.
The context: NBC hopes Fortius hooks audiences that will then enjoy a wide range of programming from Paris next year. The stakes are fairly high for the company — it paid $7.75B for Olympic broadcast rights until 2032, and next year’s edition follows record-low U.S. television audiences for the Tokyo and Beijing Games. Sacré bleu!
Zooming out: Fortius’ success could help NBC increase ratings after the network pledged to air more events than ever before, especially on streamer Peacock. Even if athletes in the program don’t receive primetime TV spotlights, the program might help NBC capture niche but highly-engaged audiences on its digital platform. Social butterflies.