With the Games of the XXX Summer Olympiad in London starting this week, it’s time to provide you with a breakdown of coverage that you’ll see on the networks of NBCUniversal. While the Opening Ceremony will officially start the Games on Friday, soccer action will begin on Wednesday. MSNBC starts the coverage Wednesday morning with women’s soccer.
Let’s breakdown how many hours each network will carry and what they’ll show.
Bravo is back in the Olympics picture. It last carried the Olympics for NBCUniversal in 2004 in Athens. The channel will be the home of Olympic Tennis at the fabled grounds of Wimbledon and NBC gets to return to the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club after being kicked out last year. Altogether, Bravo will carry 56 hours of tennis live mostly from early morning to mid-afternoon from July 28 through August 3.
Pat O’Brien will be the venue host. Tennis Channel’s Brett Haber and Andrew Catalon will call the bulk of the play-by-play. They’ll be joined by analysts Justin Gimbelstob and Rennae Stubs both of Tennis Channel. Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim will be the on-site reporter.
As it was for 2008 Olympics in Communist China, CNBC will be the home of Olympic boxing. With the debut of women’s boxing in London, CNBC will be quite busy carrying 73 hours of boxing from July 28 through August 12. A bulk of the coverage will be delayed and shown from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. ET on weekdays. Six hours of live boxing will be aired on weekends.
Fred Roggin will host from NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Center studios in New York. Calling the boxing will be Bob Papa and Teddy Atlas. This will be the third consecutive Olympics for Papa and Atlas at the boxing venue known as the ExCel. Papa has also called Olympic boxing for NBC in Barcelona in 1992 and in Atlanta in 1996 as well as in Athens in 2004 and Communist China four years ago. Russ Thaler will be the reporter.
The network will put aside its daytime programming and air a plethora of Olympic sports, 20 overall including archery, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, equestrian, fencing, field hockey, handball, indoor volkeyball, soccer, table tennis, water polo, weightlifting and six other sports.
MSNBC will lean forward with 155½ hours of coverage starting with women’s soccer between the host country, Great Britain and New Zealand on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. ET.
On weekdays, MSNBC will air Olympic coverage between 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. ET with expanded coverage on weekends. The coverage runs from July 25 through August 12 with no Olympic programming on Friday due to the Opening Ceremony.
Kelly Tilghman of Golf Channel and Rob Simmelkjaer will host MSNBC’s coverage from the NBC Saturday Night Live studios in New York.
NBC SPORTS NETWORK
Now under the NBCUniversal umbrella, the network formerly known as Versus and Outdoor Life Network before that, takes USA Network’s place on the Olympic broadcasting roster. NBC Sports Network will get the bulk of the programming on the cable side, airing a total of 292½ hours.
NBC Sports Network will carry a similar menu of sports as MSNBC, carrying 22 Olympic sports and it will also be the home of USA basketball, women’s soccer and field hockey.
NBCSN’s day will be busy, starting at 4 a.m. ET and running until 8 p.m. making way for NBC’s primetime coverage.
Your hosts will be Michelle Beadle, Liam McHugh and Willie Geist. All three will be based in the International Broadcast Center in London.
NBC Sports Network kicks off its Olympics coverage with the US Women’s National Soccer Team taking on France at 11:30 a.m. ET this Wednesday. It will air the Games continuously until August 12.
NBCUniversal’s Spanish language network will air over 170 hours of the Olympics. Its coverage will most focus on boxing, basketball, soccer and swimming. It will air the Opening Ceremony and will be the only NBCU network that will air a full 20 days of Olympics programming between July 25 through August 12.
Bolstered by a broadcast network record of 272½ hours, the National Broadcasting Company will focus on the glamor sports of the Olympics, beach volleyball, diving, gymnastics, swimming and track & field.
Due to the five hour difference between the Eastern time zone and London, all of primetime will be delayed. However, action in daytime will be live at least for the Eastern half of the country. Once again, the Mountain and Pacific regions will be forced to wait for three hours to see Olympic action in the morning.
NBC’s coverage will begin with the Opening Ceremony on Friday, July 27, delayed in all time zones, airing at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT. Unlike the sports action, you won’t be able to find the Opening Ceremony online as NBC is going back to its old tape delay shenanigans for that part of the Olympics even though CTV in Canada will be airing it live at 4 p.m. ET. But I digress.
NBC’s coverage will begin at 10 a.m. ET/PT weekdays and as early as 5 a.m. ET/PT on weekends lasting until 5 p.m. on weekdays and 6 p.m. on weekends. Primetime begins at 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sundays. Late night coverage will last from 12:35 a.m. until 1:35 a.m.
Your hosts on NBC will be Al Michaels and Dan Patrick on daytime, Bob Costas, of course, in primetime, and in late night, it will be Mary Carillo.
This is where Olympic fans finally get their chance to see everything. NBC says 3,500 hours of Olympic programming will be made available either on NBCOlympics.com or through the NBC Olympics Live Extra app for mobiles and tablets. Not only will the TV coverage of CNBC, Bravo, MSNBC and NBC Sports Network will be streamed, but also every event including the glamor sports that NBC used to hold for primetime.
The individual sports that will be streamed will not have the NBC announcers and the NBC production. In all cases, the world feed will be used and there could be occasions where the event will not have announcers.
The catch here is that you will have to authenticate meaning that you will have to sign in through your cable provider, but unlike the process for March Madness, it’s rather easy.
NBC hopes that providing everything online, it will not cannibalize its TV product and actually encourage people to watch later in primetime. We shall see how this Brave New World in Olympics broadcasting takes shape.
NBC is also providing separate channels for basketball and soccer. Check with local cable provider for channel number assignments. And for the 63 people across the country who care, NBC is also providing 3-D coverage.
So this is how the Olympics will be handled this year. Let the Games Begin.