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NBCU Cable Networks Catching Olympic Fever

NBCUniversal’s cable networks USA, Bravo, CNBC and MSNBC will present 325.5 hours of coverage of the Olympic Games from Rio in August.

The coverage comes on top of broadcast coverage on NBC and additional hours on NBCSN and Golf Channel. MSNBC, CNBC and Bravo carried 284.5 hours from London in 2012.

In total, NBC Olympics plans to have more than 6,000 hours of coverage, including streaming, of all 130 competitions at the Rio Games. That’s up from the 5,535 hours aired in 2012. NBCU has already sold more than $1 billion worth of advertising, eclipsing the sales pace set four years ago.

USA, which didn’t televise any of the London games four years ago, will have 110.5 hours of programming from Rio. Coverage begins with women’s soccer two days before the opening ceremonies and continues through the final day of the games on Aug. 21. USA will cover the Olympics from 9 a.m. ET to 5 p.m. ET most weekdays and also offer weekend coverage. Sports on USA will include men’s basketball, beach volleyball, cycling, rowing, synchronized swimming, volleyball and water polo.

Bravo will show 94.5 hours of coverage and serve as the home of Olympic tennis. For the first five days, tennis coverage will appear from 9:30 a.m. ET until 10 p.m. ET. The final four days of coverage will start at 11 a.m. ET and conclude at 7 p.m. ET.

MSNBC will show 78.5 hours of men’s basketball, beach volleyball, rugby, soccer, volleyball, water polo and other sports. Ten of the network’s 15 days of coverage will appear from noon ET to 5 p.m. ET.

On CNBC, viewers will see elimination-round coverage of basketball and volleyball, plus archery, beach volleyball, cycling, rugby, water polo, wrestling and other sports. Coverage will start on weekdays after business programming ends on weekdays at 5 p.m. and appear until 8 p.m. CNBC will have 42 hours of coverage.

Details of NBC and NBCSN coverage plans will be released at a later date, NBC Sports said.

“In Rio we’re going to provide more live Olympics coverage than ever before, taking advantage of our incredible lineup of channels,” said Jim Bell, executive producer, NBC Olympics. “With 34 sports happening in multiple locations over 17 days and nights, our ability to utilize these channels to show off great Olympic content will be an asset to our viewers.”

The London Olympics drew a record 219.4 million viewers. NBC averaged 31.1 million viewers over 17 nights in primetime, tops since the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

NBC will have the Olympics through 2032. In 2014, parent company Comcast agreed to pay $7.75 billion for the rights to the games from 2022 to 2032.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.