Nov. 4 marks 100 days to the opening ceremony of the 2010 Olympics and to commemorate the occasion NBC Universal is launching its "Countdown to Vancouver."
The initiative encompasses Olympic-themed programming and promotion across all of the NBC Universal networks; more than 1,250 original hours of pre-Olympic winter sport competition, largely on Universal Sports; and the launch of the Vancouver version of NBCOlympics.com. Moreover for the first-time, a nightly show will follow Olympic hopefuls as they compete and prepare for the Vancouver Games.
"This initiative is a key element in building momentum towards the Vancouver Games," said Gary Zenkel, president, NBC Olympics, in a statement. "The ‘Countdown to Vancouver' will live and breathe on Universal Sports with the more than 1,200 hours of Olympic sport coverage and a nightly show in these 100 days leading up to the Games that gives Americans the opportunity to follow their U.S. athletes as they prepare to live their dreams of being Olympians."
The countdown begins in earnest Nov. 4 when NBC's Today show features Olympic athletes and demonstrations. The Jay Leno Show, The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon will all feature Olympic athletes during the 100 days leading to the start of the Vancouver Games. MSNBC, CNBC and The Weather Channel will also feature Olympic-related content in the 100-day countdown, as will NBC's 235 stations and affiliates.
At 8 p.m. (ET) on Nov. 4, NBCU will install a "Countdown to Vancouver" primetime roadblock across all its services, including USA Network, Bravo and Syfy, featuring Vancouver Olympic hopefuls Apolo Ohno (short track speed skating), Lindsey Vonn (alpine skiing), Shaun White (snowboarding), Gretchen Bleiler (snowboarding) and Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto (figure skating). The one-minute Olympics promo spot is set to the music of Matisyahu's One Day.
Throughout the 100 day-period, NBCOlympics.com and UniversalSports.com will feature a "Countdown to Vancouver" clock in addition to content that builds on NBC Olympics digital success from the Beijing Games when more than 50 million fans used its mobile, video-on-demand and online platforms. For Vancouver, Olympics fans will again find comprehensive round-the-clock coverage on-line and on mobile. In an encore, NBCOlympics.com on MSN will be powered again by Microsoft's Silverlight technology to present HD quality video and offer DVR-style controls and enhanced navigation.
Additionally, Winter Olympic proponents will be connected to the Games with features like "Olympic Pulse," spotlighting tweets and blogs from athletes and NBC Olympic experts and social tools integrated within the video player. The mobile platforms will be significantly enhanced, including targeted alerts, as well as a custom smartphone application. Users will be able to embed an NBC Olympics widget.
The Countdown to Vancouver programming on Universal Sports will debut Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. with a one-hour Vancouver Olympics preview show. Vignettes highlighting Games hopefuls will continue each day and, starting Dec. 1, Universal Sports, a joint venture with Leo Hindery's Intermedia Partners, will present a nightly show that will continue through Feb. 12. Originating from Universal Sports' Los Angeles studio, Countdown To Vancouver will air at 9 p.m. and include Winter Olympic sport news and highlights, as well as analysis, features, interviews and guests from the world of Olympic sport.
Universal Sports and UniversalSports.com, with an assist from NBC Sports, will provide the lion's share of more than 1,250 hours of Winter Olympic sports coverage in the months ahead. In most cases, the competitions, which often in the past have been presented on a delayed basis and/or in summary fashion, will serve as de facto Olympic Trials for the athletes looking to secure positions for the quadrennial competition in Canada.
Among the athletes that are expected to participate in events televised by Universal Sports and NBC: two-time alpine skiing world champion Vonn in 14 events; five-time Olympic short-track speed skating medalist Ohno in six events; Olympic speed skating gold medalist Shani Davis seven times; Olympic gold medalist snowboarder White three times; world champion figure skatining Evan Lysachek in five events; and Olympic silver medalists figure skaters Belbin and Agosto in five events.
Competitions include the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating featuring Skate America, the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in primetime on NBC, the World Cup series of alpine skiing, short track speedskating, speedskating, snowboarding, freestyle skiing, cross country skiing, ski jumping, bobsled, skeleton, luge and curling.
A detailed schedule is available: UniversalSports.com/Schedule.