NBC’s Olympian Effort: 1,210 Hours


NBC detailed a 1,210-hour schedule of Olympic Games programming that it will run across its broadcast network, MSNBC, CNBC, USA Network, Bravo and Telemundo Aug. 13-29.

The company expanded its schedule for the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, by about 400 hours. Most of the additional hours will run on an HDTV feed NBC will supply to its owned-and-operated broadcast stations and affiliates, containing day-old HDTV video that will run on an eight-hour loop.

USA, which picks up 49 hours of Olympics programming, will run daytime coverage of men’s and women’s basketball games, cycling and tennis.

MSNBC will run 133.5 hours of Olympics coverage, including softball, soccer, beach volleyball, wrestling, canoeing, basketball, rowing and weightlifting. On weekends, MSNBC will cover boxing.

CNBC will run 111 hours of Olympics programming, focusing on long-form coverage of boxing from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. (EST) and expanded live coverage on weekends of beach volleyball, soccer and taekwondo.

Bravo will focus on coverage of smaller niche sports such as sailing, track cycling, archery, badminton, judo, synchronized swimming, handball, table tennis and equestrian events, in addition to tennis.

Telemundo will run 169.5 hours of Spanish-language coverage, marking the first time a U.S. network has covered the Games in Spanish.

NBC said it will nearly triple the amount of coverage it ran from the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and seven times the amount of content it ran from the 1996 Atlanta Games.

NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said his NBC flagship will run tape-delayed programming in primetime, similar to its coverage of previous Olympics.

He added that NBC won’t provide any video-on-demand content from Athens to cable operators, but it would consider using the technology in future Olympics.

NBC will spend “several million dollars less” on production costs in shooting the Athens Games than it spent on producing the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Ebersol said.