NBCU Gears Up For Olympics with Opening Ceremonies Coverage

Tokyo Olympics Logo
(Image credit: NBC)

NBCUniversal Friday morning will tee up live coverage of the 2020 Summer Olympics’ Opening Ceremony as it prepares to offer more than 7,000 hours of Olympics coverage from Tokyo across multiple platforms.

The Olympics' Opening Ceremony, hosted by Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie and NBC Olympics’ primetime host Mike Tirico, will air live on NBC beginning at 6:55 am (ET). After the ceremonies, NBC will air a special edition of Today followed by an Olympics Daytime show, according to NBC officials. 

NBC will air a primetime encore of the Opening Ceremony beginning at 7:30 pm. 

Guthrie said during a June Olympics press conference that American audiences are anticipating the Olympics games. 

“People want to feel good, root for the home team and feel inspired,” she said. “I think people will catch the fever -- there’s nothing like the Olympics. We’ve all been binge watching … Tiger King is great, but I think people are really going to want to see something special.”

Read Also: NBCU Builds Olympics App for NCTC, Verizon Set-Top Boxes 

NBCU says it's up to the herculean task of covering the Summer Games, which were postponed last year due to the pandemic. The network’s current Olympics deal, which runs through 2032, provides the network with rights to all media platforms, which the company will take full advantage of during the two-week event. 

“As the games have grown both in scale and in the number of sports and athletes, we as a company have grown and evolved as well,” said NBCU Television and Streaming chairman Mark Lazarus during the June Olympics presser. “Essentially every technology known today or to be invented between now and the year 2032 we have the rights to, which gives us the ability to try new things and to experiment. That’s what we’re going to do across the platforms.” 

Indeed, with the NBCU cable networks set to distribute 1,300 hours of Olympics coverage; NBC Sports Digital offering 5,500 hours -- including all sports and all medal events -- Telemundo Deportes offering 300 hours of Spanish-language coverage and the flagship NBC broadcast networks televising 250 hours of coverage, virtually every event will be available to avid Olympic sports fans. 

Streaming service Peacock will also play a major part in NBCU’s Olympics coverage, offering live coverage of men's and women's gymnastics, track & Field and the U.S. men’s Basketball games, as well as live daily shows and Olympic highlights.  

Read Also: Peacock's Olympics Plans Include Kevin Hart, Snoop Dogg, Kenny Mayne

Despite concerns related to the ongoing pandemic -- Olympics events will be held without fans in attendance due to the pandemic  -- industry observers say NBCU is prepared to adjust to any challenges it may face. 

“They will be faced with a substantial number of challenges … this will be an improvisational type of Olympics,” said sports analyst Lee Berke. “That being said, I’m confident that NBC is the most qualified organization to get the utmost out of these Olympics."

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.