As we’re being reminded constantly by the networks of NBCUniversal, the Olympics are just days away. And with that in mind, let’s provide you with a one-stop shopping guide on how you can watch the tonnage of content that NBC will provide on its eleven networks and online. How we we access the Olympics have changed so much since London in 2012 with the addition of set-top boxes and skinny bundles. So let’s go review what’s in store for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro.
So first things first. When do the Olympics begin?
Officially, they start on Friday with the Opening Ceremony. However, NBCSN and USA Network will air soccer games on Wednesday and Thursday including the US Women’s team debut against New Zealand at 6 p.m. ET on August 3 (officially known as Day -2). NBC will air an Olympic preview special Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET/PT and then the Opening Ceremony on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Will the Opening Ceremony be aired live on NBC?
No. NBC will air the OC in the East on a one-hour delay (two if you’re on CT). NBC says because this is not a sporting event, but more of a theatrical production, it needs to add context so Americans can understand what’s going on. In addition, NBC will edit the Opening Ceremony plus insert ads where it can during the Parade of Nations. Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira and Hoda Kotb will host making the Opening Ceremony a gabfest. You may need wine or perhaps something stronger to get through NBC’s presentation.
So we won’t see the Opening Ceremony live. NBC is surely going to provide a live stream, right?
Nope. NBC won’t be providing a live stream, so the only way to watch in the United States is on NBC’s time. Well, that is unless you live on the border with Canada and can access CBC which will air it live.
Ok, forget about the Opening Ceremony. I really care out the athletes and the events. I can certainly watch swimming or gymnastics live either on TV or online. Answer me!
Jeepers! Calm down! Yes you can. NBCUniversal will present a total of 6,755 hours of Olyympic content either on television or online. Opening Ceremony aside, NBC boasts that this will be the “Most Live Olympics Ever” meaning that whether you watch on TV or online, you’ll find something to watch live. There will be 4,500 hours of live content online which is more than the 3,500 provided in 2012 from the London Games.
As for TV, NBCUniversal will offer 2,084 hours of events across its eleven networks (Bravo, CNBC, Golf Channel, MSNBC, NBC, NBCSN, NBC Universo, Telemundo, USA Network plus specialty channels for basketball and soccer).
You can find events online either on NBCOlympics.com or through the NBC Sports app.
Now you’re talking. Now how do I watch the events online?
Glad you’re happy. NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app for mobiles, tablets and connected TV’s will be the way to access the online content. We’ve chronicled the way for you to access the feeds here.
But what if I cut the cord? I have Sling TV. Can I still watch the Olympics?
Yes. Sling will offer NBC’s networks including Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, NBCSN, NBC (in select markets) and USA. In addition, Sling is available on various set-top boxes including Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and Xbox One. According to this website, the best package to watch the Olympics on Sling is the Blue package.
The Sports Extra package has Golf Channel and that would be an extra $5/month to add that to watch the Olympic golf tournament.
Ok, I know about watching on TV and online. Who will be working these Olympics for NBC? Is Bob Costas back?
Yes, Bob will be back hosting primetime on NBC which will usually air from 8-midnight on most nights. Costas is one of the record 170 commentators who will be working the Olympics on-air for the network’s of NBCUniversal.
NBC’s hosts include Rebecca Lowe (back from maternity leave), Al Michaels, Dan Patrick and Mike Tirico on daytime. Former American Idol host and reality TV producer Ryan Seacrest will man the late night desk for NBC.
Liam McHugh and Carolyn Manno will be the hosts on NBCSN and Lowe and Patrick will be seen on NBCSN as well.
Other hosts will include Dave Briggs (Bravo), Ahmed Fareed (USA), Brett Haber (Bravo), Fred Roggin (CNBC) and Rob Simelkjaer (MSNBC).
Olympic correspondents include Mary Carillo, Jimmy Roberts, David Feherty and Hoda Kotb with the team of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir who will look at the sights and sounds of Rio.
And some of the usual suspects will be back to call the events including Tom Hammond on track & field, Dan Hicks/Rowdy Gaines on swimming and Al Trautwig on gymnastics. Basketball will be called by Marv Albert who returns to the Olympics for the first time since 2000 when he called boxing in Sydney. Unfortunately, Craig Sager who was scheduled to be on the sidelines, will be undergoing bone marrow treatment for leukemia.
One last-minute addition for the NBC staff will be Kerith Burke, formerly of SNY, who will be on the sidelines for women’s basketball.
With so many announcers, will all of them be in Rio?
No. NBC will base some hosts and many of the announcers in NBC Sports’ world headquarters in Stamford, CT. A good portion of the soccer announcers except for play-by-play man Arlo White, analyst Kate Markgraf and reporter Sebastian Salazar will be in CT.
Tennis will be called out of Stamford except for reporter Trenni Kusnierek who will be on-site.
So what will NBC show in primetime?
Expect a heavy diet of diving, gymnastics, swimming, beach volleyball and track & field. They are the glamor events during the Olympics and they’ll be featured extensively at night. Swimming will be live having been scheduled for 10 p.m. Rio time so they’ll be seen live in primetime in the East and Midwest on NBC.
What are the new sports this year?
Rugby Sevens is new and that will be seen on CNBC’s coverage in late afternoon in the East (5-8 p.m. ET). Golf is back for the first time since 1904. Golf Channel will be the home of the men’s and women’s golf tournaments. Johnny Miller and Nick Faldo will the analysts during the men’s action while Annika Sorenstam and Judy Rankin will be the main analysts for the women. Terry Gannon and Steve Sands will rotate as play-by-play announcers.
Will NBC cover news stories in case anything breaks in Rio?
Good question. NBC says it will if it happens in context during the events. But if there’s a mugging outside of the Olympic village or a Zika outbreak during the Games, the NBC Olympics staff will let NBC News cover it. Although Bob Costas may mention something during primetime.
Are NBC staffers being instructed specifically on where to go in Rio and what to drink?
Awful Announcing has learned that NBC has strongly suggested to its staffers not to venture into Rio alone and if they want to sightsee, take NBC-organized group tours. In addition, NBC is providing bottled water to their employees in the hotels where the staffers are staying. They have been told not to drink the tap water in the hotel.
As in past Olympics, NBC will offer a Starbucks cafe for employees as well as an infirmary staffed by professional medical personnel.
So there you have it. Plenty of information for you as we are just days away from the Rio Summer Olympics.