When it comes to the XXIX Olympiad next month, USA Network will go red, white and blue, CNBC will present boxing action and Oxygen will center on gymnastics.
A month before the opening ceremonies, NBC Universal outlined its seven networks’ coverage plans -- all in high-definition for the first time -- for the Beijing Olympics. From Aug. 8-24, NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, Oxygen, Telemundo and Universal HD, as well as NBCOlympics.com, will air some 3,600 hours of coverage, 1,000 more than all other televised Summer Olympics combined since Rome in 1960 through Athens in 2004. Moreover, the 2,900 hours of live coverage, featuring all 34 Olympics sports, surpass the total of 2,562 hours for the 12 preceding Summer Games.
“In the 41 years since my first Olympics, it's staggering to me to be involved in a Games where we are producing 2,900 hours of live coverage -- especially from an Olympics half-a-world away,” said Dick Ebersol, chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics and executive producer of NBCU's Olympic coverage, in a statement. “It's more live coverage from a single Olympics than the total of all previous Summer Olympics combined. The enormity of what we're doing just blows me away.”
Through three dayparts, NBC, which will air its 11th Olympiad, surpassing ABC’s U.S. network mark of 10, will present 225 hours over the 17 days, including live primetime coverage of 32 gold-medal finals for swimming, four nights of gymnastics, beach volleyball and the men's and women's marathons.
For its part, USA Network will features live coverage of Team USA. Starting Aug. 9, men’s and women’s hoops and soccer players will be key “characters” of the network’s 165 hours of coverage from China. It will also offer live tennis, volleyball or water polo through the final day.
MSNBC has 175 hours over 19 days in store, as it will present opening round soccer match coverage of Aug. 6 and Aug. 7, before the Games officially begin. With a schedule from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., the news network will also showcase long-form coverage of softball, beach volleyball, wrestling, basketball, volleyball and weightlifting
Financial news network CNBC will carry 95.5 hours. Following the Closing Bell, CNBC will offer boxing from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (ET), before returning from midnight to 4:30 a.m. with as softball, tennis, weightlifting, wrestling and badminton.
Oxygen, which NBCU acquired last November, also gets into the Games with 20 hours, notably providing a daily gymnastics recap. Equestrian and tennis are also scheduled.
In its second Olympic go-round, Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo, which reaches 93% of U.S. Hispanic households, will present 380 hours of Olympic coverage over 19 days, exclusively in Spanish. Telemundo will feature live men's (starting Aug. 7 with a pair of matches) and women's soccer, basketball, gymnastics, diving, volleyball, as well as track and field, swimming and baseball. The network will focus on participating Latin America nations and Hispanic competitors.
As for Universal HD, it will offer 24-hour HD simulcasts and encores of coverage on CNBC and MSNBC. All told, it will present 379 hours of Games coverage.
"For the first time, the average American will be able to create their own unique Olympic experience whether at home, at the office or on-the-go,” said Ebersol. “With 25 sports streamed live at NBCOlympics.com and significant live coverage on our cable platforms and NBC, highlighted by all swimming finals, the biggest nights of gymnastics and beach volleyball live in primetime, the viewer has plenty of options for live coverage.”