NBCUniversal Sets Olympic Channel Launch Date

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The channel will debut July 15, replacing Universal HD.

NBCUniversal's preparations for the 2018 Winter Olympics are already in full swing.

In conjunction with the International Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic Committee, the Comast-owned company on Thursday announced the launch date for the Olympic Channel.

The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA will kick off July 15 in more than 35 million homes across the country. The linear channel will be available to most subscribers of Altice, AT&T DirecTV, Comcast, Spectrum and Verizon, and the Olympic Channel will also be available on streaming services, including DirecTV Now, Fubo, Hulu, Sony PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV. Viewers will also be able to live-stream the channel on OlympicChannel.com, NBCSports.com, the Olympic Channel app and the NBC Sports app.

“The launch of our first national television channel is an exciting new chapter in the evolution of our global platform,” Mark Parkman, general manager of the IOC’s global Olympic Channel, said in a statement. “Through our partnership with the USOC and NBCUniversal, the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA will ensure that U.S. audiences are able to further discover, engage and share in the power of sport and the excitement of the Olympic Games all year round.”

Added USOC CEO Scott Blackmun: “The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA will celebrate the commitment of America’s elite athletes year-round, as they work toward a place on the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams. Through original programming that captures the athlete journey all the way to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, this platform will give fans of Olympic and Paralympic Sports more access than ever before.”

For NBCUniversal, the launch of the Olympic Channel comes after the company shuttered two other linear cable channels, Esquire and CLOO, earlier this year. The female-centered Oxygen is also in the midst of a major rebranding, shifting its focus from reality series like Bad Girls Club to true crime docuseries like Dick Wolf's Cold Justice. The Olympic Channel replaces the Universal HD channel.

“We are thrilled to partner with the IOC and USOC in launching the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA this summer, with high-quality, world championship programming featuring U.S. stars such as Katie Ledecky right out of the starting blocks,” said NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel. “The fact that the channel has been embraced by the most widely distributed cable, satellite and telco providers demonstrates the strength of the Olympic brand in the United States, and will allow fans to connect more closely than ever with the stories and successes of America’s favorite Olympic Sports athletes.”

The Olympic Channel will offer year-round programming of Olympic sports from around the world, highlighting fan-favorite American athletes and teams. Programming will emphasize live events from a broad range of summer and winter Olympic sports.

The new channel will also boast Olympic-themed original content produced by all three organizations, including programs commissioned by the global Olympic Channel; archival footage from past Olympic features and documentaries; and original Team USA programming produced by the USOC that looks at the larger Olympic movement in the U.S.

The first month of programming will include extensive coverage of the 2017 FINA World Swimming and Diving Championships in July, and the IAAF Track and Field World Championships and FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in August.

In addition to the Olympic Channel's programming, NBCUniversal also had more than 400 hours of Olympic-themed programming on NBC and NBC Sports Network. NBC has been home to the Summer Games since 1988 and the Winter Games since 2002. Over the years, NBC has used the Olympics to bolster several other areas of original programming such as its morning show, which regularly broadcasts from the site of the Games, as well as primetime scripted series like Superstore, which aired a special Olympics-themed episode in between seasons one and two last August.

Plans for the Olympic Channel were first announced in December, following the global digital platform of the same name, which debuted shortly after the 2016 Rio Games.

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