By Barry Janoff
June 28, 2016: NBCUniversal, the exclusive broadcast partner in the U.S. for the 2016 Summer Olympics, is counting the days and weeks until the Opening Ceremony on Aug. 5.
And while they are doing that, they also are counting the number of hours of programming that will air across NBCUniversal broadcast, cable and online platforms, a record 6,755 — 1,200-plus more than the previous record of 5,535 hours set during the 2012 Summer Games in London.
That also is more than 3,100 hours of coverage than during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing (3,600) and 5,500 more hours of coverage than during the 2004 Summer Games in Athens (1,210).
NBCU, owned by Comcast, anticipates setting a viewership record, as well. The 2012 London Olympics were watched by 217 million Americans across the networks of NBCUniversal, making it the most-watched event in U.S. television history, per NBCU, which anticipates surpassing that total this August.
In addition, Comcast has another record it would like to set. In March, NBCU said it had passed $1 billion in national ad sales for the Summer Games, some four months earlier than when it hit the mark prior to the 2012 Summer Games. For that event, NBCU said it reached a record $1.3 billion in ad sales, which also was the first time Olympic Games ad sales topped the $1 billion mark.
According to NBCU, "Rio 2016 remains on pace to secure the most national advertising sales ever for an Olympic Games and the most by any network for any media event in U.S. history."
NBC is getting significant dollars from official International Olympic Committee partners, including Atos, Coca-Cola, Bridgestone, Dow, GE, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung and Procter & Gamble.
Also adding major dollars to NBC's coffer are such U.S. Olympic Committee partners as 24 Hour Fitness, AT&T, BMW, BP, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), Chobani, Citi, Dick's Sporting Goods, Hershey, Hilton, Kellogg's, Liberty Mutual, Ralph Lauren, Smucker's, Ameritrade and United Airline.
NBCU said it would air 2,084 hours of Olympic linear programming across 11 networks: broadcast networks NBC and Telemundo; cable channels Bravo, CNBC, Golf Channel, MSNBC, NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), NBC Universo and USA Network; plus two specialty channels provided to distribution partners, one each for basketball and soccer.
NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app, powered by Playmaker Media, 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 and, for the first time, connected TVs.
NBC alone is scheduled to broadcast 260.5 hours of Olympic programming, including coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, swimming, gymnastics and track and field, according to NBCU.
NBCSN will have 330 hours of Olympic programming covering more than 20 sports, both more than any other TV network, including Team USA women’s soccer and Team USA men’s and women’s basketball.
Telemundo and NBC Universo will air 273.5 hours of coverage, the most extensive Olympic coverage in the history of U.S. Spanish-language television, and 100 hours more than London 2012 (173.5).
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 soon be unveiled. Both are Olympic firsts, according to NBCU.
"The Rio Games will offer the most comprehensive coverage of any event in sports history,” Jim Bell, executive producer, NBC Olympics, said in a statement. “For those who have a favorite sport or like to watch on a particular screen, this nearly 7,000-hour smorgasbord of sports excellence has you covered.”
According to NBCU, NBC Olympics’ coverage will average about 356 hours of coverage per day (19 days). NBCSN will televise 16 hours of coverage per day, from 8 AM to midnight (ET).
The coverage information coincided with the release of two NBCU Olympic commercials.
"Take Me To Rio" features numerous Team USA athletes explaining why they are looking forward to the Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The other, in Hispanic from Telemundo, is "Mas Rapido, Mas Alto, Mas Fuerte" ("Faster, Higher, Stronger"), which takes a high-energy look at the upcoming games and host nation and people. Text offers, "En Agosto, el munro se reunirá en Rio este verano irás max rapido, subareas max alto y te sentirás max fuerte."
Although the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 5, competition begins two days earlier (Aug. 3) with women’s soccer on NBCSN and USA Network.
The Closing Ceremony is scheduled for Aug. 21.
NBCUniversal is presenting its 15th Olympic Games and ninth consecutive, both the most by any U.S. media company. ABC is second with ten and four, respectively.
Rio will be NBCUniversal’s eighth consecutive Summer Games, having presented each one since Seoul in 1988. In 2011, NBCUniversal extended its TV rights deal for the Olympics through 2020 for $4.38 billion, and in 2014 again extended those rights through 2032 for $7.65 billion, according to industry analysts.
Among individual network highlights:
Bravo be the home of Olympic tennis, televising 94.5 hours of live coverage from Aug. 6 through the women's singles final on Aug. 12 and the men's singles fins on Aug. 14.
Golf Channel will present 115 hours of tournament programming, and nearly 300 hours dedicated to Olympic programming in August.
NBC Olympics said it would distribute 4K Ultra HD (UHD) coverage to cable, satellite, telco providers and other partners. "The 83 hours of coverage will be made available on one-day delay and will include 4K UHD footage from the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, swimming, track and field, basketball, the men’s soccer final, and judo, as well as Rio scenics," per NBCU.
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