August 5, 2008 / 5:37 PM / 10 years ago

McCain outspends Obama on Olympic ads: source

The individual covers of presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama's biographies, which have been turned into a comic book, are displayed at the 39th annual Comic Con Convention in San Diego, July 23, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Blake

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s campaign has bought $6 million in TV advertising time during the Olympic Games from NBC Universal, a source familiar with the deal said on Tuesday, topping an earlier purchase by Democratic rival Barack Obama.

McCain’s last-minute commercial buy covers advertising on both the NBC network and cable channels such as USA, MSNBC and CNBC, all of which will carry parts of the Summer Games. Coverage of the Olympics begins on Friday with the Opening Ceremony.

Last month, Obama bought $5 million worth of commercial time from NBC Universal, a source said, believed to be an unprecedented political media buy for the Olympics.

NBC Universal, which reportedly has sold 30-second spots to various corporate advertisers for around $750,000 a piece, has nearly reached its target of just over $1 billion in commercial sales. It is unclear how much McCain’s campaign paid for its spots.

A division of General Electric Co, NBC Universal is planning carry a record 3,600 hours of Olympic coverage across its broadcast, cable TV and online outlets. Live web streaming of events will account for about 2,200 hours of the coverage.

Both NBC and McCain’s campaign declined to comment.

Reporting by Paul Thomasch, editing by Mark Porter

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