NBC Universal has announced unprecedented coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics:
NBC Universal, broadcasting its record 11th Olympics and surpassing ABC for the most Olympics broadcast by any network, will present an unprecedented 3,600 hours of Beijing Olympic Games coverage, the most ambitious single media project in history. NBCU's unprecedented Olympics coverage features the most live coverage in the United States (75 percent in all), across the most platforms, of any Summer Olympics in history when the Games of the XXIX Olympiad commence on Aug. 8. The announcement was made today by Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics and Executive Producer of NBCU's Olympic coverage.
The 3,600 total hours of coverage on seven NBC Universal networks: NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, Oxygen, Telemundo and Universal HD, as well as NBCOlympics.com, is 1,000 hours more than the combined coverage for every televised Summer Olympics in U.S. history (Rome 1960 - Athens 2004, 2,562 hours). NBCOlympics.com will feature approximately 2,200 total hours of live streaming Olympic broadband video coverage, the first live online Olympic coverage in the United States.
"For the first time, the average American will be able to create their own unique Olympic experience whether at home, at the office or on-the-go," said Ebersol.
"With 25 sports streamed live at NBCOlympics.com and significant live coverage on our cable platforms and NBC, highlighted by all swimming finals, the biggest nights of gymnastics and beach volleyball live in primetime, the viewer has plenty of options for live coverage.
"In the 41 years since my first Olympics, it's staggering to me to be involved in a Games where we are producing 2,900 hours of live coverage - especially from an Olympics half-a-world away. It's more live coverage from a single Olympics than the total of all previous Summer Olympics combined. The enormity of what we're doing just blows me away."
Following is a breakdown of the Beijing Olympics coverage on the NBC Universal networks:
-- The seven NBC Universal networks: NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, Oxygen, Telemundo and Universal HD, as well as NBCOlympics.com, will offer the most in-depth Olympic coverage in history. The 3,600 hours is 1,000 hours more than the total coverage for every televised Summer Olympics in U.S. history. Note: Dating back nearly 50 years to CBS in Rome in 1960 (20 total hours) through NBCU in Athens in 2004 (1,210 total hours), the 12 Summer Olympics broadcasts have totaled 2,562 hours. Even the live hours of Beijing coverage surpass the total from those 12 Summer Games (Nearly 2,900 to 2,562).
-- Over the 17 days of the Beijing Games (Aug. 8-24), NBCU's coverage will average more than 212 hours per day - that's more coverage than was produced in total for each Summer Olympics through the 1996 Atlanta Games, which delivered 176.5 hours just 12 years ago.
-- The NBCU networks will offer more live coverage than any Olympics in history, domestic or foreign, despite the 12-hour time difference from the Eastern time zone to Beijing. Approximately 75 percent of NBCU's Beijing Olympics coverage will be live.
-- The 3,600 total hours of coverage from Beijing nearly triples the 1,210 total hours of coverage from Athens in 2004 and is more than eight times the 441.5 broadcast hours from Sydney on NBC in 2000.
-- For the first time by a U.S. broadcaster at a Summer Olympics, NBCU will broadcast the entire Olympic Games entirely in high definition.
-- The networks of NBCU will provide coverage of every one of the 34 Summer Olympic sports.
-- The 2008 Olympic Games from Beijing, China represent the 11th Olympics broadcast by NBC, surpassing ABC's 10 Olympics for the most Olympic broadcasts by any U.S. network.
-- In addition to the 3,600 hours, NBCU is also providing coverage of the entire men's and women's soccer and basketball tournaments through Soccer (58 games) and Basketball (76 games) NBC Olympics specialty channels.
-- Two foreign language channels in both Korean and Mandarin Chinese will feature a variety of Olympic events.
Complete day-by-day listings will be available soon at NBCOlympics.com or a PDF is available immediately at NBC Universal Media Village, the company's media specific Website NBCMV.com.
A breakdown of coverage network-by-network follows:
The NBC network schedule is divided into three dayparts: afternoon, primetime and late night -- for a total of 225 hours of coverage over 17 days beginning with the Opening Ceremony on Friday, Aug. 8, at 8 p.m. ET.
Primetime on NBC will feature live coverage of all 32 swimming gold medal finals; four key nights of men's and women's gymnastics led by the women's and men's team gold medal finals, as well as the women's and men's individual gold medal finals; beach volleyball; and, for the first time ever, both men's and women's marathons. The first week of the Olympics features gymnastics and swimming, two sports in which the USA is especially strong this year. The USA's women's gymnastics team, led by 2007 world all-around champion Shawn Johnson and nine-time world medalist Nastia Liukin, and the USA men's gymnastics team, led by 2004 Olympic gold medalist Paul Hamm, should be strong competitors for Olympic gold. In swimming, the USA is as solid as ever. Michael Phelps, the 23-year-old phenom, looks to make Olympic history and, by the end of the first week, could break the records for most career gold medals by any Olympian (nine) and most golds in one Games (seven), famously held by Mark Spitz. Five-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin leads the women and continues to be the 100m gold medal favorite.
In 2004, the Athens Olympic Games on NBC earned ratings gold. NBC's unprecedented 1,210 hours of coverage from Athens (Aug. 13-29) were watched by 203 million total viewers and earned the distinction of the most watched non-U.S. Olympics in history.
In addition to a 14 percent increase in average primetime viewership over Sydney (24.6 million vs. 21.5), a nine percent increase in 18-34 primetime demos (7.0 vs. 6.4), and a five percent increase in 18-49 demos (8.7 vs. 8.3), NBC's daytime, late night and weekend broadcasts all boasted increases in total households, as well as in the key adult demographic.
USA Network, the No. 1 network in basic cable and seen in nearly 94 million homes, will feature live coverage of Team USA. The USA men's and women's basketball and soccer teams will be a staple of USA Network's 165 hours of Olympic coverage from Beijing. USA begins coverage on Saturday, Aug. 9 with 12 hours of live soccer and basketball and also will offer live tennis, volleyball or water polo everyday until Aug. 24.
In Athens, USA Network was up 53 percent in average viewers for the Olympic dayparts compared with the same pre-Olympic 17 days and time periods in 3Q prior to the Olympics (6/28-8/8/04) July 2004 (800,000 vs. 523,000).
MSNBC, available in 90.3 million households, will carry a total of 175 hours over 19 days. MSNBC will provide live, weekday, long-form coverage of a full range of Olympic sports, including softball, soccer, beach volleyball, wrestling, basketball, volleyball and weightlifting. On each of the two days prior to the Opening Ceremony, Wednesday, Aug. 6 and Thursday, Aug. 7, MSNBC also will provide coverage of the opening soccer matches.
During the 2004 Athens Olympics, MSNBC showed an increase of 175 percent in average viewers over the pre-Olympic 3Q levels (460,000 vs. 167,000) in Olympic dayparts. During the first weekend of the Olympics, MSNBC delivered the most total viewers and its highest ratings of the year for those Saturday and Sunday dayparts.
CNBC, available in 86 million households in the U.S., will carry 95.5 hours of Olympic programming over 16 days, beginning Saturday, Aug. 9. On weekdays following "Closing Bell," CNBC will feature long-form coverage of Olympic boxing from 5-8 p.m. ET. From midnight-4:30 a.m. on most nights, CNBC will have expanded, long-form coverage of a wide variety of Olympic sports such as softball, tennis, weightlifting, wrestling and badminton.
In 2004, CNBC drew in an average of 584,000 average viewers for its coverage of the Athens Games, an increase of 1,092 percent over pre-Olympic 3Q 2004 (584,000 vs. 49,000) in Olympic dayparts.
In November 2007, NBC Universal acquired Oxygen, which is available in 73 million homes. Oxygen will carry a total of 20 hours of Olympic coverage beginning Monday, Aug. 11. Oxygen will feature a daily look at gymnastics, recapping some of the most exciting moments in the popular competition. Equestrian and tennis also will be featured on Oxygen's coverage.
In its second Olympic broadcast, Telemundo, which reaches 93 percent of total U.S. Hispanic households, together with its Olympic website Telemundo.NBCOlympics.com, will provide more than 380 hours of Olympic coverage over 19 days, exclusively in Spanish. Telemundo will feature live men's and women's soccer, basketball, gymnastics, diving, volleyball, as well as track and field, swimming and baseball. Telemundo begins its competition coverage the day before the Opening Ceremony, Thursday, Aug. 7, with two men's soccer matches. The U.S. Hispanic network will also broadcast special programs focusing on the participating Latin American countries and the Hispanic athletes.
Telemundo.NBCOlympics.com will feature up-to-the-minute information and exclusive content. Photo galleries, videos, profiles of prominent Olympians, news, historic information and images from Beijing will be available on the site. Users will also find more than 220 hours of broadband video of the Beijing Games and past Olympics.
Universal HD, an NBC Universal Cable network launched in fourth quarter 2004, is currently available to more than 25 million homes in 100 percent 1080i HD. During the Beijing Games, Universal HD will offer 24-hour HD simulcasts and re-airs of coverage on CNBC and MSNBC, 379 hours in all.
STANDARD MONDAY-FRIDAY SCHEDULE
While times may vary from day to day, a standard weekday schedule is below
(Check NBCOlympics.com or local listings)
A total of 2,200 hours of Olympics coverage of 25 different sports will be streamed live via broadband on NBCOlympics.com. A complete list of each sport is below:
NBCOlympics.com will provide up-to-the-minute television schedule information, breaking news, instantaneous results and video highlights.
NBC, America's Olympic Network, holds the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Olympic Games through 2012, which includes Vancouver 2010 and London 2012.