NBCUniversal Launches New Olympics Network

By A.J. Katz Comment

Missing the Olympics? Well, NBC Universal, in partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the U.S. Olympic Committee, is launching a new 24/7 network dedicated to Olympic sports and the American athletes involved who participate in and train for them.

The network, named The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, launches today at 6 a.m. ET in approximately 35 million U.S. households.

NBC Olympics prime time anchor Mike Tirico will preview the live sports, archival footage and documentaries that will comprise the majority of the programming slate in a “launch special” that premieres this morning and will repeat various times throughout the weekend.

“Olympians don’t just walk through a door every four years, compete, go back through that door and disappear. They continue their competition, their pursuit of individual excellence or team excellence, and the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, will show us that, not just for Team USA, but for other athletes around the world,” Tirico said on a conference call yesterday.

Content focused on World championships in track and field, swimming & diving and beach volleyball will air during the first two months of the network’s existence, but the main draw will undoubtedly be programming focused on the 1992 U.S. men’s basketball “Dream Team” which will air on the network over 8 nights quite heading into Labor Day weekend.

The channel will air the games played by the team in their entirety. Because the legendary team that featured Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, among others, never won by fewer than 30 points, NBC never televised all of the games in full when they happened. This channel will.

This is a bold move by the three organizations. Many fans follow Olympic sports and athletes for only a couple of weeks every two years, and as NBC Olympics chief marketing officer John Miller told Adweek heading into the 2016 Rio Games, “The Olympics are white hot for a period of 17 days or so, and then awareness and interest cools down quickly….It’s our job to remind people of the charms of the Olympics, what they saw before and what they liked about it, and then the human interest stories that we are going to highlight.”

Here’s their chance.