Believe it or not, the Summer Olympics are still scheduled to take place this summer from Tokyo, a year after they were originally scheduled.
NBC made an announcement regarding their coverage of the Games (in five months) on Wednesday. Notably, the network will air the Opening Ceremony live across all time zones. This has been a pain point and the butt of many jokes for *years* now – back in 2016, with the Olympics being held in Rio de Janeiro’s US-friendly time zone, NBC tape delayed the Opening Ceremony across the country despite using the “most live Olympics ever” tag. The Opening Ceremony was also tape delayed from London in 2012, Sochi in 2014, and PyeongChang in 2018, though it did air live from Vancouver in 2010.
So, why the massive (and completely logical) change? Per Pete Bevacqua, the chairman of the NBC Sports Group, its about togetherness in the aftermath of the (still ongoing) pandemic (or something like that).
“Following the unprecedented challenges presented by the global pandemic, the world will come together in Tokyo for what could be the most meaningful and anticipated Opening Ceremony ever. Given the magnitude of this event, we want to provide viewers with as many ways to connect to it as possible, live or in primetime.”
The Opening Ceremony will air on NBC at 6:55 in the morning on July 23rd in the Eastern Time Zone, which is 3:55 AM in the Pacific Time Zone. It’s expected to last four hours, and will be followed on the schedule by a three hour edition of TODAY and a three hour broadcast of Tokyo Olympics Daytime.
For those who value their sleep, the Opening Ceremony will re-air in a more conventional window at 7:30 PM ET and 4:30 PM PT. The west coast will get a re-air of the primetime broadcast at 9:10 PM PT, and the whole country will get an overnight re-air of the live Opening Ceremony overnight.
Pandemic aside, this was a no brainer of a decision for NBC. It’s simply inane that the network didn’t air the Opening Ceremony live each Olympics. Hopefully, this change lasts past the summer of 2021 and NBC doesn’t revert to their previous programming strategy in Beijing next February.