SAN DIEGO, December 21, 2013 – Get your DVR and your TiVO warmed up.
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics will receive the most U.S. coverage in Winter Games history. NBCUniversal will present more than 1,539 hours of coverage of the XXII Olympic Winter Games from Sochi, Russia, across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, MSNBC, USA Network and NBCOlympics.com. The 1,539+ hours are the most ever for a Winter Olympics and more than the coverage of the previous two Winter Olympics combined.
The good news: despite a nine hour time difference between Sochi and the Eastern Time Zone, much more of it will be live for viewers in the U.S.
For several Olympic cycles now, NBC has tried to protect its profitable primetime schedule and the advertisers spending a lot of money for commercials by holding back the most popular sports for coverage in the evening, sometimes many hours after the events took place.
But the real world finally forced NBC’s hand. The network figured out it can’t hold back real-time coverage in a world where online information streams and discussion on social media converge with broadcast and cable TV.
Now devoted fans can see gold-medal winning performances on NBCSN as they happen and enjoy social media discussion in real time, instead of waiting until that evening and trying to avoid results online, which is nearly impossible for many people.
So on Saturday, February 8, the first full day of competition, American television viewers can watch the start of figure skating live from Russia first thing in the morning.
Nearly every figure skating performance will air on cable on NBCSN during the day. But those who don’t or can’t watch online won’t miss out. Highlights and winning performances will be shown on tape delay on the NBC broadcast network in primetime the same night as in previous Olympics.
NBCSN will also broadcast live gold-medal coverage of events in bobsled, Nordic combined, cross-country skiing, speed skating and ski jumping. The network, formerly called Versus, is seen in 80 million U.S. homes.
NBC started streaming every sport live online for the 2012 London Summer Games, but it was still criticized for limiting live coverage on television. Especially on weekends, sports fans are used to watching sports live in the daytime. Many other people are unwilling or unable to log into the online broadcasts, which will again be available for every sport from Sochi.
The network also discovered during the London games that the live streaming did not hurt its TV ratings. Many people who saw exciting performances live wanted to see them again in primetime on the big screen with additional features, commentary and post-performance interviews.
It’s all great news for sports fans as coverage of real time events evolves, driven by social media and online news reports. It’s maddening to try and preserve the element of suspense all day to watch a sports event in primetime, only to be hit with spoilers from excited friends or news headlines popping up online.
One third of the coverage will be on the five NBC broadcast and cable television networks. The schedule begins with a primetime preview on Thursday, February 6, at 8 p.m. ET, one night before coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Friday, February 7, and continues until the Closing Ceremony on Sunday, February 23.
Following is a breakdown of NBCUniversal’s coverage of the XXII Olympic Winter Games.
The six NBCUniversal platforms including NBC (185 hours), NBCSN (230), CNBC (36), MSNBC (45), USA Network (43) and NBCOlympics.com (1,000+) will offer the most in-depth coverage in Winter Olympics history. The 1,539+ hours is more than Vancouver (835) and Torino (419) combined.
NBCUniversal’s 539 hours of television coverage is the most ever for a Winter Olympics, 103 more hours than the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Over the 18 days of the Sochi Games from February 6 - 23, NBCUniversal’s coverage will average over 85 hours per day. This is nearly double the entire coverage of the 1976 Innsbruck, Austria Winter Olympics (43.5 hours).
Sochi marks the first time NBC will air Olympic primetime coverage before the Opening Ceremony. The primetime broadcast on Thursday, Feb. 6, is scheduled to include competition in the Olympic debuts of snowboard slopestyle (men’s and women’s), and team figure skating, where the U.S. is expected to contend for a medal, as well as women’s freestyle moguls.
NBCSN will present more than 230 hours of coverage, including live figure skating for the first time.
MSNBC, NBCUniversal’s 24/7 cable news channel seen in roughly 100 million homes, will telecast live hockey coverage on 11 of its 12 days, including medal round games.
USA Network, seen in more than 100 million U.S. homes, will present medal round coverage of hockey and curling and three men’s hockey games featuring Team Canada.
CNBC, NBCUniversal’s cable business channel, will serve as the home for curling during the 2014 Sochi Games, and present a daily curling program beginning on February 10.
NBCOlympics.com will serve as the exclusive home of Olympic video coverage, featuring, for the first time, live streaming of all Winter Games competition, plus event rewinds and extensive video highlights.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She writes on professional cycling and covers the Sweet Science for Communities, along with other news in the sports world. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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