NBC Olympics to Mix VR Into Coverage of Rio Games

NBC Olympics said it will produce 85 hours of virtual reality content – one sport per day – that will be delivered exclusively to authenticated users of Samsung Galaxy smartphones that are compatible with the Oculus-powered Samsung Gear VR headset.

NBC Olympics said that VR programming, to be captured by Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), will include coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, men’s basketball (including the semifinals and final), gymnastics, track and field, beach volleyball, diving, boxing, and fencing, as well as highlight packages for those sports.

Notably, all VR programming will be presented on delay, from August 6, the day after the Opening Ceremony, through August 22, the day after the Games conclude. That fare will be available only on via phones that work with the Gear VR, and will accessible via a VR content section within the NBC Sports TV Everywhere app.

“The world’s greatest sporting event is always a showcase for cutting edge technology, and we’re thrilled to partner with Samsung and OBS to bring our viewers even closer to compelling Olympic action with virtual reality,” Gary Zenkel, president, NBC Olympics, said in a statement.” “Olympic fans can be transported to iconic venues such as Maracana Stadium for an unprecedented view of the Opening Ceremony, and Copacabana Beach for an immersive beach volleyball experience in the sport’s ultimate setting.”

“Fans of the Olympics will now get to experience the world’s best athletes as they compete in some of the most popular events of Rio 2016 in a whole new way: through virtual reality,” said Marc Mathieu, chief marketing officer at Samsung Electronics America, added.

Samsung’s Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 phones are compatible with the Samsung Gear VR.

NBCUniversal announced Tuesday (June 28) that its networks and digital platforms will present 6,755 hours of programming from the Rio Games.  NBCU’s 11 linear networks will present more than 2,000 hours, and 4,500 hours of coverage will be streamed at NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app, and powered by Playmaker Media, the live and on-demand streaming service recently launched by NBC Sports Digital. NBC Olympics also plans to offer 83 hours of coverage in 4K/Ultra HD on a one-day delay.