NBCU Plans More Than 5,000 Hours of Olympics Coverage

Media empire details wide-ranging plans for coverage

The days of a few hours of tape-delayed Olympics coverage at night are over.

NBCUniversal announced Wednesday that it plans 5,535 hours of coverage for the 2012 London Olympics — compared to 3,600 hours of coverage for the 2008 Beijing Olympics — spread across its vast media empire.

In one sign of how much that empire has expanded, and how important cable and online viewing has become, NBCU's Telemundo will air almost as much coverage in Spanish as NBC did in English for the entire 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Telemundo plans 173 hours, compared to 176.5 hours for NBC in 1996.

This time, NBC will air 272.5 hours of Olympics coverage, the most of any broadcast network, largely because of increased daytime coverage. NBCU's coverage will also include tennis on Bravo, boxing on CNBC, and a special platform for 3D.

Olympics coverage will also air across the NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, NBCOlympics.com, two specialty channels, and its first-ever 3D platform.

“We are only able to provide this level of coverage to U.S. viewers because of the unmatched array of NBCUniversal assets,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group. “Whether on television or online, on broadcast or cable, in English or in Spanish, NBCUniversal has the London Olympics covered, providing the American viewer with more choices than ever to watch the Games.”

Here are some of the coverage plans NBC announced in a news release Wednesday:

-NBCU will provide coverage of all 32 sports and all 302 medal competitions.

-NBC will broadcast 272.5 hours of London Olympic coverage over 17 days, nearly 50 hours more than the 225 hours for Beijing in 2008.

-Daytime coverage will begin on most weekdays at 10 a.m. ET/PT, immediately following NBC News’ "Today," which will originate from London.

-Weekend daytime coverage will begin as early as 5 a.m. ET/PT.

-NBC Sports Network will be the home of U.S. team sports, with 292.5 hours of total coverage, including 257.5 hours of original programming, the most ever for an Olympic cable network.

-CNBC will serve as the home of Olympic boxing, including the debut of women's boxing. It will televise 73 hours of coverage over 16 days, from elimination bouts to the men’s and women’s finals.

-Bravo will televise 56 hours of long-form tennis coverage from July 28 to Aug. 3.

-NBCOlympics.com will live stream every event and sport, for the first time ever. The site will live stream more than 3,500 total programming hours, including the awarding of all 302 medals.

-NBCOlympics.com will live stream NBCU cable channels NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC and Bravo, only making them available to authenticated cable, satellite or telco customers.

-Two apps — one focused on live streaming, one on highlights, schedules, results, columns, and more — will be available for mobile and tablet users.

-Specialty channels for basketball and soccer will be available to cable, satellite and telco providers, and will total 770 hours of coverage.

-As announced in January, Panasonic and NBC Sports will make the Games available in 3D to all U.S. distributors who carry Olympic coverage on cable, satellite and telco. They will provide 242 hours of 3D coverage. — nearly 100 percent of the multichannel industry.

-MSNBC will carry 155.5 hours of long-form Olympic programming, including up to 18 medal rounds and 20 sports, from badminton to basketball to soccer to wrestling.

NBCUniversal’s 2012 London Olympic coverage begins on MSNBC on Wednesday, July 25 — two days before the Opening Ceremony — when Great Britain faces New Zealand in women’s soccer, the first official competition of the Games. The game will air live from Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. PT.