NBCU Plans Record 7,000 Hours of Olympic Programming

NBCU Olympics
(Image credit: NBCU)

NBCUniversal said it will have 7,000 hours of coverage of the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

The Olympics will appear on NBCU’s broadcast and cable networks, its digital platforms including Peacock and Telemundo Deportes.

Also Read: Telemundo Upfront: 1,000 Hours of Original Content in 2021-22

“After a devastating year, the world comes together again, finally, in Tokyo this summer,” said Molly Solomon, executive producer and president, NBC Olympics Production. “We are going to deliver the most comprehensive — and accessible — coverage for any sports event in history. The depth and breadth of our broadcasts will be unprecedented, showcasing once-in-a-generation athletes and storylines that will capture the incredible uniqueness of these Games and our times.” 

NBC has been airing but the Summer and Winter Olympics since 2000. In 2014, NBCU, part of Comcast, signed a $7.65 billion deal covering games between 2021 and 2032. (The Tokyo games were supposed to be held in 2020, but were postponed because of the pandemic).

Also Read: NBCU Claims $1B in Olympic Advertising Sales

An NBC Sports spokesperson said the organization has been doing remote production for many Games and already planned for a very significant home operation for Tokyo. "After requests by the IOC and Tokyo Organizing Committee for everyone to reduce their footprint, we moved 300 additional workers home and will now have 1,600 in Tokyo," the spokesperson said. Asked what impact diminished live attendance might have, the spokesperson said "as we have seen over the past year, coverage of sporting events can be very successful even with reduced capacities."

NBC will have 17 consecutive nights over primetime coverage and 250 hours of Olympic programming over all. NBC’s primetime will be live across all time zones, with coverage spilling into late night following local newscasts. Mike Tirico will host NBC’s primetime coverage, will will focus on swimming, gymnastics, track & field, diving and beach volleyball.

The women’s and men’s gold medal basketball games will both air in primetime, on Aug. 6 and Aug. 7.

NBC Sports will also stream more than 5,500 hours of the Olympics on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app. All 41 sports and 339 medal event will be streamed, plus the opening and closing ceremonies.

Current plans call for Peacock to have studio studio shows coverage the Olympics. Additional Olympic activity on Peacock will be announced at a later date.

NBCU cable networks USA, CNBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel and Golf Channel will present more than 1,300 hours of Tokyo Olympic coverage. USA’s coverage starts with the USA playing Sweden in soccer.

The Olympics will be a big sendoff for NBCSN, which is being shut down at the end of the year. NBCSN will televise 440 hours of Olympic programming, more than any other NBCU network, starting with live softball on July 20, three days before the opening ceremony.

Telemundo Deportes, is the exclusive Spanish-language home of the Olympic Games in the U.S. It will have more than 300 hours of programming across Telemundo and Universo.

Both The Today Show and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt will be on site with live coverage. Each morning, Today will bring viewers live interviews with Olympians and provide the latest news from the Games. Each night, Nightly News will profile a member of Team USA, as well as report on all the news surrounding the Games. 

The Games of the XXXII Olympiad will take place July 23-Aug. 8, 2021, in Tokyo.

Jon Lafayette

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.