The AP reports on how Olympic athletes are using social media to build their own brands prior to the games, winning endorsements before winning medals. The Olympic stage, however, has also dramatically boosted these athletes’ profiles. “Before breakout star Chloe Kim won gold in the snowboarding halfpipe event, her infectious personality and heartwarming origin story had already won her sponsorships from Toyota, Samsung, Visa and others. Of course, winning a gold medal amplifies an athlete’s reach. When Kim started the Olympics, she had 15,000 Twitter followers. She now has more than 285,000. She charmed thousands with tweets about eating ice cream and churros and being ‘hangry’ because she didn’t finish breakfast before her race. … While social media was around during prior Olympics, they have a much bigger presence this time around, with everything from Instagram “Stories” to auto-play videos on Twitter parlaying brand messages. The speed in which athletes break out to become stars happens more quickly now.”
IN THE MEDIA
Spending the long weekend binge watching the Olympics? Chances are you are watching on broadcast TV. Morning Consult’s Anna Gronewold writes, “For the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, NBC is making a big push with digital broadcasting, livestreaming 1,800 hours of coverage — what the network called a record for a Winter Olympics. But more than three-quarters of likely U.S. viewers say they plan to watch the games through traditional television broadcasts.”
Recode adds a note about the ongoing competition for the streaming rights for NFL Thursday Night Football. “Twitter, Amazon, YouTube and Verizon are the remaining bidders, according to multiple sources. Twitter paid $10 million for these digital streaming rights from the NFL in 2016; Amazon won them in 2017 for $50 million, with the latest renewal going for much more. Verizon is an existing NFL partner and already owns some mobile streaming rights for Thursday. YouTube is the only company without a prior streaming relationship with the league, though CEO Susan Wojcicki said just this week that she would ‘love to stream the NFL.’”
IN THE ADMINISTRATION
President Trump will travel to the Pittsburgh area on Wednesday, February 21, for a campaign rally. The Washington Examiner reports that this will “[mark] the 20th campaign rally Trump has held in Pennsylvania since 2015. ‘This rally will provide an excellent opportunity for the President to connect once again with hard working Americans in the local community,’ Michael Glassner, executive director of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., said in a statement. ‘President Trump looks forward to an exciting visit to the Pittsburgh area to deliver the amazing news about our booming economy now that America is once again open for business.’”
ON THE HILL
The House and Senate are both out this week. The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) takes place Wednesday through Friday (February 21-24) at the Gaylord just outside D.C. with speakers including President Trump (Friday) and Vice President Pence. The National Governors Association Winter Meeting begins Friday through next Sunday (February 23-26) in D.C.