Data: MAGNA Advertising; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

If it weren't for the Olympics and the election next year, TV advertising sales would be down again next year, according to MAGNA, an advertising firm.

Why it matters: Engaged live audiences have become a commodity for advertisers, and they are willing to spend big.

  • In total, $10 billion is expected to be spent around the 2020 election cycle. That should help push local TV advertising spend to over $20 billion in the U.S. next year.

Driving the news: NBC Sports has sold $1 billion in national ad sales for Olympics, executives said on a call last week. The company is on track to beat its prior record of $1.2 billion in domestic ad sales during the Rio 2016 games.

  • NBC advertising executives noted NBC Olympics’ coverage of Rio in 2016 across all of its television platforms "delivered more than 3x the gross audience of the five major pro championships combined that year – the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Final, World Series, and NASCAR Homestead."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 30,241,377 — Total deaths: 947,266— Total recoveries: 20,575,416Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 6,681,251 — Total deaths: 197,763 — Total recoveries: 2,540,334 — Total tests: 91,546,598Map.
  3. Politics: Trump vs. his own administration on virus response.
  4. Health: Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Anxious days for airline workers as mass layoffs loom

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, during a Sept. 9 protest outside the Capitol. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The clock is ticking for tens of thousands of anxious airline employees, who face mass reductions when the government's current payroll support program expires on Sept. 30.

Where it stands: Airline CEOs met Thursday with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who said President Trump would support an additional $25 billion from Congress to extend the current aid package through next March.

House Democrats ask DOJ watchdog to probe Durham's Trump-Russia investigation

Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynsky/AFP via Getty Images

Four Democratic House committee chairs on Friday asked the Justice Department's inspector general to launch an "emergency investigation" into whether Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham, his appointee, are taking actions that could "improperly influence the upcoming presidential election."

Catch up quick: Last year, Barr tapped Durham to conduct a sweeping investigation into the origins of the FBI's 2016 Russia probe, after he and President Trump claimed that it was unjustified and a "hoax."