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June 8, 2021

NBC to serve up over 7,000 hours of Olympics action

NBCUniversal, the US media giant, has unveiled plans to air more than 7,000 hours of coverage from this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

By Simon Ward

NBCUniversal, the US media giant, has unveiled plans to air more than 7,000 hours of coverage from this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

While there remain concerns over the staging of the delayed games amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with some experts calling for the event to be further postponed or cancelled, the Comcast-owned network is demonstrating its full commitment, with extensive content across linear and digital platforms.

Some 250 hours of the most popular events, including athletics, swimming, gymnastics, USA men’s and women’s basketball games and women’s soccer games, will be shown on the main NBC channel.

That will be supported by more than 1,300 hours across five cable networks – NBC Sports Network, USA Network, Olympic Channel, Golf Channel and CNBC.

NBCSN is to serve up more than 440 hours of coverage and USA Network 388.5 hours

The Olympic Channel is to offer 242 hours of events from sports including tennis and wrestling, while The Golf Channel will present 111 hours of programming from the men’s and women’s golf tournaments.

In prime-time hours, CNBC will offer 124.5 hours of competitions from sports including diving, beach volleyball, rowing, water polo and rugby sevens.

Some 300 hours of competitions will be shown in Spanish language on Telemundo and Universo.

In a break from previous games held outside the USA, the opening and closing ceremonies will be televised live, and then repeated in prime-time slots.

In addition, more than 5,000 hours of Olympics content will be streamed online via NBColympics.com.

The total offering on Peacock, NBC’s nascent OTT service, is set to be announced in due course.

The Tokyo games, delayed from last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, are scheduled for 23 July to 8 August.

The games are the last in NBC’s four-games rights contract with the International Olympic Committee worth $4.4 billion, but it is signed up for the foreseeable future with a $7.75 billion deal for the next six games, to 2032.

In a statement, Molly Solomon, executive producer and president of NBC Olympics Production, said: “We are going to deliver the most comprehensive — and accessible — coverage for any sports event in history. The depth and breadth of our broadcasts will be unprecedented, showcasing once-in-a-generation athletes and storylines that will capture the incredible uniqueness of these Games and our times.”

Before last year’s postponement, NBC was set to rake in more than $1.2 billion in advertising from the Tokyo Olympics, and has since been working with brands to get them to recommit in 2021.

It was announced yesterday that the broadcaster had selected Japanese corporation Sony Electronics to provide broadcast and production equipment for the network's production of this year's games.

NBC Olympics crews will use nearly 100 Sony cameras to capture footage at event venues and to record athlete interviews, press conferences and other assignments that require studio and portable recording and capture.

A selection of the cameras will facilitate IP-enabled transmission, with the others operating in SDI, and the team will also use several of Sony's production switcher models designed for IP- and SDI-based production.

David Mazza, chief technology officer and senior vice president, NBC Sports Group & Olympics, said: "For the Tokyo Games, NBC Olympics has been planning for several key advancements as we progress towards UHD and a new generation of infrastructure.

"This includes the conversion of the IBC (International Broadcast Centre) to a fully IP system and the combination of 1080P, 4K and HDR workflows, all while protecting the 1080I SDR streams for our main broadcasts. Sony has been key in assisting us with an updated menu of equipment, and consulting with us on how to ensure these processes run as efficiently as possible while maintaining the highest of quality pictures and reliability."

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