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With the Tokyo Olympics still on the schedule to kick off in late July, NBCUniversal is outlining its coverage plans for the games, totaling some 7,000 hours of programming between two broadcast networks (NBC and Telemundo), six cable channels (USA, CNBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel, Golf Channel, and Universo) and multiple digital platforms.
Among the notable programming moves this time around: NBC will broadcast the opening ceremony live for the first time in the early morning of July 23, to be followed by the Today show. The network will air the ceremony again in primetime.
The primetime show will be live across every time zone: Similar to the 2018 Winter Games, the primetime and late night programming will be live in every time zone, with a special Prime West edition for the West Coast.
NBCSN will get an Olympic-size sendoff: Earlier this year the company said that it would shut down NBC Sports Network by the end of 2021, moving most of its programming to USA Network and the Peacock streaming service. However, NBCSN will go out on a high note, televising more than 440 hours of live events, more than any other channel in NBCU’s stable. Coverage will include soccer, softball, equestrian, fencing and beach volleyball.
The Olympic Channel adds live coverage: The Olympic Channel, a joint venture between NBCU and the U.S. Olympic Committee, will air live coverage of the games for the first time. The channel will air some 242 hours of live programming, and will be the home of tennis and wrestling coverage during the games (some key matchups and medal matches may air elsewhere, as usual).
Peacock’s push: NBCUniversal is planning to use the games to promote its Peacock streaming service, including four exclusive studio shows. There will also be live coverage, though details on those plans will be released at a later date.
As for the rest of the company’s coverage plans …
NBC will air 250 hours of coverage, including most of the top events and medal matches (think swimming, track and field, and diving), with Mike Tirico leading primetime coverage. Telemundo Deportes will lead Spanish-language coverage in the U.S. with more than 300 hours of coverage between Telemundo and Universo.
USA Network will run more than 388 hours of coverage, including top events like swimming, basketball, beach volleyball and soccer.
CNBC will air live coverage in primetime after its dayside market coverage ends. Coverage will include diving, archery, rugby, rowing, and new Olympic sport skateboarding.
Golf Channel will have wall-to-wall coverage of the Olympic golfing events.
On the digital side of things, NBC Sports Digital will offer more than 5,500 hours of live coverage to pay-TV subscribers that authenticate their subscriptions with the company. The Tokyo Games will also mark the return of the Gold Zone feed, a whip-around show that showcases interesting moments from live events. There will also be a “Team USA Tracker,” allowing users to follow competitors in select events (i.e., following a gymnast from apparatus to apparatus).
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