NBC To Stream All Olympic Events Online… But There’s a Catch

By Alex Weprin 

Fans of the Olympics, rejoice! NBCUniversal is planning to stream just about every single Olympics event and medal ceremony live online, fulfilling a longstanding request of sports fans everywhere. In addition, NBC will offer multiple viewing angles and cameras, allowing viewers to choose which concurrent gymnastics event to watch, or which track & field event to tune into.

Today marks 100 days until the start of the 2012 London games, and NBC officially kicked off its Olympics hype-machine on its morning show “Today.” Dozens of athletes appeared on the program, which also saw anchor Savannah Guthrie attempt to learn how to hurdle:


The bigger news for fans, however, is the streaming announcement. In past Olympics, NBC would stream select (read: less popular events) online, saving the more popular ones for primetime.

This year, things will be different… at least for most fans. In its announcement, NBC Sports says “the vast majority of live streaming will only be available to authenticated cable, satellite or telco customers.”

In other words, if you are a cord-cutter, your live-streaming options will be severely limited. In addition, while some events will be archived immediately, many of the more popular events will not be able to be replayed online unti9l after they air on TV. In other words, if you miss the big gymnastics finish online, you will have to wait until it airs on NBC in order to see it.

While the authentication and “no-replay” rules may annoy many consumers, the bottom line is that this is still a vast improvement over what NBC has offered in past Olympics. Given the rapid pace of change in online streaming, future games may be more open and available to interested viewers.