Cable Show 2012: NBC To Offer Unprecedented 2012 Olympics Coverage


NBC Sports will provide an unprecedented 5,535 hours of 2012 London Olympics coverage -- including live coverage of every event and every sport -- via its broadcast and cable linear channels, online and mobile , according to Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics and executive vice president of Strategic partnerships for NBC Sports Group.

NBCUniversal, though, will not take home a gold medal financially for its coverage. Zenkel said during a Cable Show 2012 panel  "Changing Technologies and Audiences" here Tuesday that the company will not make money on the London Games.

"We will not make a profit in London," Zenkel said, adding that the London Games were part of a long-term deal NBC reached with the International Olympic Committee back in 2003. He did say that the network is "confident" the network will make a profit with its $4.4 billion deal for the 2014 through 2020 Olympic Games the company secured last year.

For the London Games, Zenkel said NBC will broadcast 272 hours of London Olympic coverage over 17 days beginning in July, nearly 50 hours more than NBC's 225 hours of coverage for Beijing Games in 2008.

The NBCUniversal cable networks will also telecast a record number of hours of Olympics coverage.

NBC Sports Network - formerly Versus - will air almost 300 hours of 2012 Olympics coverage, including 257 hours of original programming - an average of more than 14 hours per day. MSNBC will carry 178 hours of a wide variety of long-form Olympic programming over 19 days, while CNBC will televise 73 hours of men's and women's boxing over 16 days right through the finals in each weight division.

Bravo will be home of Olympics tennis, televising 56 hours of long-form tennis.

Also, Spanish-language network Telemundo will offer 173 hours of Spanish-language coverage, nearly equaling the total coverage broadcast by NBC for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. "It's going to be London all the time for the networks of NBC," Zenkel said.

For fans of cycling, swimming and other Olympics sports, will stream every event and sport - more than 3,500 total programming hours, including the awarding of all 302 medals. Zenkel said at peak the site will be offering as many as 40 simultaneous feeds.

He added the live streaming of Olympics events won't cannibalize viewers on the NBC networks. "We are confident ... that wide streaming video does not cannibalize primetime audiences, so will hold nothing back and we think our [primetime viewership] will grow," he said. "Each time we make more time assessable it creates more interest, it creates more buzz and its drives more viewership into our primetime broadcasts."

NBC will also make available to cable, satellite and telco providers specialty channels for basketball and soccer totaling 770 hours of coverage, as well as more than 1,000 Olympics-based video assets, including video-on-demand content. NBC has also partnered with Panasonic Corp. of North America to offer 3D coverage of the Games to all U.S. distributors.

It's unclear how many operators have signed up for the additional Olympics content, but Zenkel said he expects widespread adoption.