Brazil can’t get enough of Michael Phelps. The recently retired U.S. swimmer, the most decorated Olympian in history, has been tapped by Brazilian media giant Grupo Globo to endorse its TV coverage of the recent Rio 2016 Olympics. The institutional ad campaign kicks off on leading U.S. print media, and some online versions, on Monday.
Per its renewal pact with the IOC, Globo is Brazil’s official media sponsor of the Olympics until 2032, and is committed to year-long coverage of the Olympics, including participation in the new Olympic Channel. Grupo Globo is the second giant media org to partner with the IOC through 2032, following NBCU’s pact for broadcast rights in the U.S., unveiled in May 2014.
Phelps’ swimming career spanned five Olympics and culminated in Rio with 28 medals, 23 of them gold. He can spend the rest of his life endorsing products and services unless some scandal prompts sponsors to pull out. Phelps plans to donate part of his Globo endorsement fee to a Brazilian NGO, which is still being selected.
Globo has also chosen new local hero, pole vaulter Thiago Braz da Silva, to endorse it across print and digital media in Brazil. Braz da Silva surprised the world by grabbing the Olympic gold from France’s defending champ Renaud Lavillenie, setting an Olympic record of 6.03 meters in the men’s pole vault competition.
“His winning was so unexpected, so astonishing,” said Globo communications director Sergio Valente. Like Phelps, Braz da Silva is a great source of inspiration, which is the underlying theme of Globo’s campaign. Globo TV, which already dominates Brazil’s media landscape, outperformed all other free-to-air channels while broadcasting the Games and related content. Grupo Globo’s pay TV brand SporTV earned the largest primetime audience of all Brazilian pay TV channels during Rio 2016, outpassing live coverage of the London 2012 Olympics by 137%.
TV Globo’s Rio 2016 broadcast coverage reached 173 million local viewers during the sporting event, which ran from Aug. 3 to Aug. 21.
The campaign kicks off just after the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games ended Sunday, covered extensively via both Globo TV and sporTV, the latter broadcasting more than 150 hours of live Paralympic competition on its four channels.