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NBC to break even at 2012 London Olympics

US broadcaster NBC says ad sales better than expected for Summer Games.

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An NBC Sports poster board is unloaded from a buggy at the London 2012 Olympic Park, east London, on July 21, 2012. (CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

NBC improved its outlook regarding the 2012 London Olympics today, with NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke saying the peacock will break even rather than post a loss.

The broadcaster outbid Fox and ESPN last year, paying $4.38 billion for Olympic rights to 2020; it paid $1.2 billion for London alone.

“We are way ahead of where we thought we’d be,” Burke said, according to The Associated Press.

Based on higher production costs, NBC had predicted a 20 percent drop in ratings compared to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but instead has seen a 9 percent increase.

“We think that is because of the way we promoted the Olympics during the hundred days leading up to the Olympics,” Burke told the AP.

More from GlobalPost: NBC coverage draws widespread social media scorn

According to Nielsen’s overnight ratings, the Olympics earned nearly 37.5 million viewers Tuesday night compared to just 2.3 million for MasterChef on Fox.

The network took heavy criticism for its handling of the opening ceremonies, waiting until primetime in the United States to show the event.

London is five hours ahead of New York.

Then, once the broadcast ensued, Twitter exploded with negative comments aimed at NBC hosts Bob Costas, Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera.

NBC also opted to cut a memorial tribute to victims of the 7/7 London bombings, angering many in England, The Guardian said.

More from GlobalPost: Akram Khan miffed at NBC’s decision to cut tribute

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/120801/nbc-break-even-at-2012-london-olympics