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May 7, 2021

NBC and Twitch team up in Olympics content deal

NBCUniversal, the US media giant that is home to the Olympic Games in the country, will launch an official channel on Twitch, the video-streaming platform owned by internet giant Amazon, to roll out content from Tokyo 2020.

By Tariq Saleh

NBCUniversal, the US media giant that is home to the Olympic Games in the country, will launch an official channel on Twitch, the video-streaming platform owned by internet giant Amazon, to roll out content from Tokyo 2020.

The two parties will collaborate to provide interactive live content and shows from the delayed games, which will take place from 23 July to 11 August.

The channel will feature original programming such as daily highlight studio shows and athlete interviews, as well as Olympics-themed gaming competitions.

Twitch will also produce content directly from Tokyo, which will feature both the platform’s own talent and NBC’s Olympics hosts.

The interactive element will see the highlight shows accompanied by live polls and Q&As, while Twitch creators will engage with viewers live during NBC’s primetime coverage on a ‘companion’ broadcast.

Twitch will deliver additional interactive and virtual experiences with NBC to engage its streaming audience, which will begin with a virtual Olympic Torch.

In the week before the Olympics, streamers and viewers will work together to “keep the Torch alive” by collecting items and participating in online chats. 

There will also be virtual activities around the opening and closing ceremonies.

NBC, which holds Olympics rights in USA until 2032, and Twitch will collaborate on the sales process for the new channel, which creates additional Olympics ad inventory.

Michael Aragon, chief content officer at Twitch, said: “The way that people consume traditional sporting events is changing. They no longer want to simply spectate; they want to be as close to the action and athletes as possible.… The Olympics present an opportunity for a global fan base to embrace this new world of live and interactive sports.”

NBC also has a similar content agreement with social media giant Twitter for both Tokyo 2020 and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

Meanwhile, NBC is exploring new strategies for its seven regional sports networks, including a potential roll-out on new streaming service Peacock or a sale, according to the Wall Street Journal.

NBCUniversal had planned to stream its NBC Sports Philadelphia RSN, which features games of the city’s NBA, MLB and NHL teams, on Peacock last month but the plan was eventually halted.

Streaming the RSNs will be complex for the broadcaster as it will require approval from the respective leagues and could lead to an increase in Peacock subscription fees in certain markets.

Selling off the RSNs is another option, but there are not believed to be any suitors.

Fellow media giant Sinclair acquired Fox’s RSNs last year from Walt Disney in a deal worth $9.6 billion.

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