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NBC: ‘Rio 2016 most live Olympics ever’

June 30, 2016

By Colin Mann

Often criticised in the past for its reliance on deferred ‘as-live’ coverage of previous Olympic Games, the networks and digital platforms of NBCUniversal are taking advantage of a more favourable time zone to present an unprecedented 6,755 hours of programming for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this August. NBC will broadcast 260.5 hours of Olympic programming, including coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, swimming, gymnastics, track and field, and many more of the Games’ most popular sports.

With Rio just one hour ahead of the Eastern Time zone, the 2016 Summer Games will be the most live Olympics ever. NBCU will present 2,084 hours of Olympic linear programming across 11 networks: broadcast networks NBC and TELEMUNDO (Spanish language); cable channels Bravo, CNBC, Golf Channel, MSNBC, NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), NBC UNIVERSO (Spanish language), and USA Network; plus two speciality channels provided to distribution partners, one each for basketball and football.

Powered by Playmaker Media, and the NBC Sports app will live stream 4,500 total hours — including all Olympic competition for the third consecutive Olympics — for authenticated pay-TV subscribers via TV Everywhere to desktops, mobile devices, and tablets, plus connected TVs for the first time. Additional details regarding NBC Olympics’ digital offering will be announced soon.

As previously revealed by, NBC Olympics will also provide 4K Ultra HD content to NBCU distribution partners, as well as Virtual Reality (VR) programming, the details of which will be announced soon. Both presentations will be Olympic firsts.

“Olympic fans rejoice; the Rio Games will offer the most comprehensive coverage of any event in sports history,” said Jim Bell, Executive Producer, NBC Olympics. “For those who have a favourite sport or like to watch on a particular screen, this nearly 7,000-hour smorgasbord of sports excellence has you covered.”

The Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics will air on Friday, August 5, on NBC. Competition begins two days earlier on Wednesday, August 3, with women’s football on NBCSN and USA Network, and the Games conclude on Sunday, August 21, with the Closing Ceremony on NBC.

Additional highlights regarding NBCU’s coverage of the Rio Games:

  • NBCUniversal is presenting its 15th Olympic Games and ninth consecutive, both the most by any US media company. ABC is second with 10 and four, respectively.
  • Rio will be NBCUniversal’s eighth consecutive Summer Games, having presented each one since Seoul in 1988. NBCU has exclusive US media rights for all Olympic Games through 2032.
  • The 6,755 hours of coverage for Rio is 1,220 hours more than was produced for London in 2012 (5,535) and is a new Olympic programming record.
  • NBC Olympics’ coverage averages roughly 356 hours of coverage per day (19 days). If the 6,755 hours ran on one channel, it would take 281 days to finish airing.
  • The last time the Summer Games were in a US-friendly time zone, NBC was the lone network, broadcasting 171 total hours of coverage for the 1996 Atlanta Games. Rio will have nearly 40 times more programming hours than Atlanta.
  • TELEMUNDO and NBC UNIVERSO, the home of the Olympics in Spanish in the United States, will present 273.5 hours of coverage, the most extensive Olympic coverage in the history of US Spanish-language television, and 100 hours more than London 2012 (173.5).

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