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Canadian TV Broadcaster Sees Green In Olympic Theme Song

Friday, 5 Mar 2010 | 2:27 PM ET
Nikki Yanofsky sings during the opening ceremonies at the BC Place for the XXI Winter Olympic Games.
Leon Neal | AFP | Getty Images
Nikki Yanofsky sings during the opening ceremonies at the BC Place for the XXI Winter Olympic Games.

When executives for Canadian television started dreaming up their coverage for the Olympics in Vancouver, they didn’t just want to commission a theme song to play on its telecasts.

They wanted to own it.

With all of Canada watching, they played their melody of their song “I Believe” tirelessly throughout the games and a catchy lyric and the voice of a rising Canadian vocalist named Nikki Yanofsky has put the song at the top of the charts in Canada for more than two weeks.

“We kind of joked that our goal was to make the song number one by the night of the Opening Ceremony,” said Dan Cimoroni, CTV’s vice president of business development for Canada’s Olympic broadcast media consortium, which includes a host of channels including CTV and TSN.

That didn’t quite happen.

But with Yanofsky’s performance in the Opening Ceremony and the theme playing in and out of every break, Canadians eventually did vote with their wallets and made “I Believe” an industry favorite. To date, the song has been downloaded 100,000 times and 50,000 physical copies have been sold at $8.99, Cimoroni said. The album includes behind the scenes footage as well as the recording in French.

Cimoroni, who worked in the music business before he got into sports, said that Yanofsky was identified as a rising star in the business. But the hit song has certainly skyrocketed the 16-year-old to sudden fame.

When asked if the song can turn into a cash cow for the networks, which own a significant portion of it along with the songwriters, Cimoroni said that it’s hard to make money off music these days in general.

That being said, he’s surprised that the single continues selling at a rapid pace.

Said Cimoroni: “I have a friend whose eight-year-old wakes up every morning and sings the song. I really hope for Nikki’s sake this becomes a hit throughout the world.”

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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