Universal Sports is offering cable operators a freeview for its news and information coverage of the upcoming Winter Olympics.
The network, a joint venture of NBC Universal and Leo Hindery's InterMedia Partners, is making "Universal Sports at the Vancouver Games" coverage available to MSOs at no cost. Moreover, cable operators have the opportunity to sell local advertising avails within Universal Sports's presentation.
The announcement comes against a backdrop of concerns by Comcast/NBCU merger critics about access to programming by competing cable operators, including NBC's Olympics programming.
Leading up to the Games and part of the freeview offer, Universal Sports is airing Countdown to Vancouver nightly show that includes the latest updates from around the world, as Olympic-caliber athletes enter the final days of training and competition, with many still battling to qualify for team berths.
Once the Winter Olympics begin on Feb. 12, Universal Sports will deliver five hours of live daily news and information through five newly created studio shows, as well as continuous news and results updates throughout the quadrennial event, which finishes with the closing ceremony on Feb. 28.
Originating from sets in Vancouver and Whistler, Canada, as well as from Universal Sports's network facilities in Westlake Village, Calif., programming elements also encompass include continuous studio news updates every 30 minutes, as well as a live, up-to-date Olympic results ticker. The format is geared to supply viewers with an in-depth, daily dose of Olympic news and information, as well as serve as guide to NBCU's multiplatform presentation of the Games, whether on broadcast, cable, video-on-demand, the internet or wireless platforms.