As is the case with any modern Olympics taking place outside the continent, we're left to speculate how much of the Sochi Games will be airing live. What will NBC save for their primetime broadcast? What will they choose to stream? What will air live on cable?
The network gave us some pretty definitive answers this morning, as they announced via a press release that NBCSN will air live coverage of each of the figure skating disciplines. Beginning on Feb. 8 with the team events and ending on Feb. 20 with the ladies' free skate, NBCSN will be live almost every day with figure skating coverage. This is the first time we've seen a lot of this air live on cable for an Olympics outside North America.
Moving the figure skating events to live television is a power move from the network, and one that could perhaps to keep people away from streaming them and more viewers discovering NBCSN. Each day's coverage will air on or around 10 a.m. ET, which is definitely late enough for most television viewers to check in on it without having to wake up at a crazy hour.
NBCSN will also be the home of Team USA hockey. All six qualifying round games of both the United States men's and women's hockey teams will air live over there. While all three U.S. men's games will air at a semi-reasonable 7:30 a.m. ET hour, the women will air as early as 3 and 5 a.m. ET.
Hockey should be a natural for NBCSN, as it is the main home of the NHL and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In fact, the channel is so dedicating itself to hockey that they'll also be airing two pre-tournament women's hockey games between the U.S. and Canada. The network is sending NHL play-by-play man Dave Strader along with analysts A.J. Mlezco and Natalie Darwitz to Grand Forks, N.D. for a broadcast of the two major women's hockey nations this Friday in NBCSN's usual college hockey slot.
It's all a part of NBC's plan to try and load up on premium content for NBCSN, as the fledgling cable network boasts itself as the "home of Team USA." Outside of figure skating, the network will also broadcast coverage of 12 other Olympic sports, including bobsled, speed skating, and various skiing disciplines.