Nearly two years after we first heard the Olympics were looking to establish their own channel, the network at long last appears around the corner.

The Olympic Channel announced Monday it had reached content-sharing agreements with  27 international sports federations, including that of basketball, swimming and gymnastics. With the deals in place, the digital network is nearly ready to set a launch date, for some time in 2016.

In a statement, IOC president Thomas Bach shed some light into the timeline.

The International Federations have embraced the Olympic Channel and we look forward to working with them on the exciting programming and promotional opportunities. The newly formed Olympic Channel team is making steady progress, with the emphasis on ensuring the product is right and the quality of the programming matches our ambition. We look forward to announcing the 2016 launch date in the coming weeks.”

Upon launch, the Olympic Channel will begin as a digital platform with on-demand content accessible at all times, during Olympic years and otherwise. According to the release, it will broadcast live events, news, original content and historical footage, as well as “educational and youth-oriented programming, sustainability, sports science and nutrition, and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.”

The concept is certainly intriguing. It makes sense for the Olympics to build a platform that keeps the Games in or near the news cycle at all times and showcases some stories that might be overlooked — the same thought process has yielded success for the NFL Network, MLB Network, NBA TV, the Big Ten Network and others. And with the cable industry in flux, beginning the Olympic Channel as a digital entity certainly seems sensible.

But the logistics of the Olympic Channel are kind of scary to think about. Will they be able to produce compelling content year-round when the Games themselves only take place every four years? And will anyone care as long as the Olympic events themselves are broadcast on NBC? Would anyone watch, say, NBA TV if it didn’t broadcast meaningful games?

The Olympic Channel has more than 60 full-time employees according to the release, and will soon have a start date, so they’re not messing around. We’ll find out soon enough how much Olympic coverage is too much.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

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