Last week, NBC Sports sent out a press release stating that it would begin its primetime coverage the night before the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Olympics. In this press release, NBC made the bold claim that: “This marks the first time any U.S. media company has dedicated primetime coverage to Olympic competition – Winter or Summer — prior to the Opening Ceremony.” Sounds good, right? I mean, this looked correct and who would dispute this claim?
In his Monday media column, Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch inserted that NBC claim (now since removed).
Thanks to both accounts for debunking the NBC Sports press release.
UPDATE, 5:15 p.m.: Heard from Twitter follower Eric Fingerhut and he tells me that ABC also aired a USA men’s hockey game on the night before the 1984 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Sarajevo in primetime on tape delay.
UPDATE, 6:20 p.m.: I’m also hearing from former ABC Sports staffers who told me they were angry about NBC’s claims.
UPDATE, 9:40 p.m.: Classic Sports TV and Media now has an ABC promo from 1980 showing that indeed, ABC aired hockey the night before the Opening Ceremony.
UPDATE, 3:45 p.m., 02/12/2013: Jeff Haggar of Classic Sports TV and Media has sent these two archive grabs, one from the New York Times and the other from the Washington Post showing that the Olympics primetime coverage started 33 years ago today at 9:30 p.m. ET and not 9 as shown above. Apparently ABC felt it wanted to get one last showing of the sitcom hit “Three’s Company” before the Olympics.
And there you have it. We’re done here.