NBC’s Peacock to Live Stream American Olympic Gymnastics, Track and Field and Men’s Basketball in Tokyo

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NEW YORK – When NBC launched full-scale live streaming of the Olympics in 2008, the network put the generosity of the action behind a pay wall that made coverage available only to cable and TV subscribers. satellite.

The network has remained true to the philosophy over the next five Games, three in winter (2010, ’14 and ’18) and two in summer (2012 and ’16), although consumer behavior has not. . Early Cord Cutters weren’t shy about hoping that NBC would give them a way to watch the events – a legal way, that is – even though they knew that NBC’s parent company, Comcast , had little incentive to do so.

Next month the wall will start to fall. NBC announced on Wednesday that it will be putting gymnastics and track and field live on the free tier of its Peacock streaming platform. There will also be live games of the United States men’s basketball team on Peacock’s paid tier, which costs $ 4.99 per month but free for Comcast subscribers with X1 set-top boxes.

Additionally, Peacock will have on-demand reruns of other sports on its free tier. The full range of this offering has yet to be defined, but it will come in handy for rope-cutter fans who don’t want to watch the live action from Tokyo in the middle of the night here.

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“We want to expand the audience and we think Peacock is the vehicle to do it,” said Matt Strauss, president of Peacock, who lives in Cherry Hill.

“There has clearly been a shift where more and more users want to access content through streaming,” Strauss said. “You keep seeing people who have more options now, where they might just want to get broadband and streaming service and not necessarily get traditional pay TV. So we give people choices, we give them more access.

All live events on Peacock will also be available for pay TV subscribers to stream online in the usual way: NBC’s Olympic website and apps for phones, tablets and connected TV devices like AppleTV and Roku. .

Why will basketball be behind Peacock’s paywall? Strauss’s response was quite simple: the network just decided to do it.

“It will be accessible elsewhere, but for Peacock we thought it was an interesting opportunity to learn,” he said.

Peacock will also have a stack of additional content, including a daily highlights show hosted by Rich Eisen and a women’s sports show starring Lindsay Czarniak, MJ Acosta-Ruiz and former Olympic track and bobsleigh athlete Lolo Jones. The platform already offers documentaries and archival footage of events, including the 1996 women’s football gold medal match, which was not televised at the time and had never been available on its web. entirety so far.

But the most important elements will be the live events, which will feature some of America’s biggest names at the Games. Sha’Carri Richardson looks tagged for fame on the track, and gymnast Simone Biles could be the biggest star of them all. And of course, the men’s basketball team will get attention no matter who is playing.

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“I think that’s where the media world goes as a whole,” said Rick Cordella, executive vice president and chief revenue officer of Peacock, and longtime champion of NBC’s expansion of sports streaming in line.

“You see it, you feel it,” he added. “You see some of the sports that are now being shown simultaneously on TV and streaming services… I don’t think it’s necessarily something new that we’re doing, maybe it’s new for this event.”

Indeed, Peacock recently broadcast live an NFL playoff game on NBC and NHL playoff games on NBCSN and USA Network.

As for coverage of the Olympics on traditional TV channels, there will be the usual broad offering on NBC’s broadcast network and many cable outlets including NBCSN, USA, CNBC and Golf Channel.

The large broadcast network will have plenty of live content in the morning US time, which is night time in Tokyo, including the first live television broadcast of an opening ceremony since the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. . The last live television broadcast of an opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics dates back to 1996 in Atlanta.

“With the proliferation of all of these different platforms, it allows us to cater to both the super fans with all the streaming, but then you can access the network in prime time and get some highly organized sport and the most popular. [show] prime time, ”said Molly Solomon, executive producer and president of NBC’s Olympic production. “And then you go to cable channels, and the real estate there really allows us to show long-term coverage of games and events.”


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