(AP) – Swimming, gymnastics and track & field fans can rejoice. For the first time in a European Olympics, those event finals will be televised live on network television in the United States.
NBC will have at least nine hours of weekday daytime coverage, expanding to at least 11 hours on weekends. With Paris six hours ahead of New York, the marquee finals will air live in the morning or late afternoon.
NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service will have every sport and event live, including all 329 medal events, from July 26-Aug. 11, 2024.
“The Paris Olympics are going to be the most binge-worthy event of 2024,” said Pete Bevacqua, Chairman, NBC Sports. “For those wanting to watch the competition as it happens, Peacock will have everything live, creating the greatest single destination in sports media history.”
Most fans have wanted to watch Olympic events live. NBCUniversal has done that in the past with most sports, using its sister channels for around-the-clock coverage, but has kept the marquee events and finals for primetime.
During the Tokyo Games two years ago, the only way to watch gymnastics finals live was on Peacock or other NBC Sports digital platforms.
This will be the first time since 2012 that a Summer Games are being in held in Europe. The London Games marked the first time NBC had a site devoted to streaming every event live by using the Olympics world feed. That meant track fans could stream the 100 meter finals live while most waited until watching the taped coverage on NBC in primetime.
While some may look at this as an evolution in NBC’s coverage, Molly Solomon, the Executive Producer & President of NBC Olympics Production, termed it as a better way of taking advantage of the time zone.
“I believe you take each Olympics separately. I love after you finish an Olympics, you get to start with a clean slate for the next one,” she said. “To bring the Olympics to the greatest number of people, how can we take advantage of the time zone? And so what we did when you look at six hours ahead, we’re like we can take over NBC in the daytime, and have live competition all day long, including the most popular sports, their finals in the afternoon on NBC.”
The prime time show will show replays of the important events from the day while adding storytelling and other features.
“So really prime time in Paris will be the best of the best. And the time zone gives us the opportunity to create an amazing storytelling event,” Solomon said. “This gives us the opportunity to reimagine and contemporize coverage.”
Prime time host Mike Tirico also will be used during the morning and weekday coverage when there are marquee finals.
Besides streaming every sport and event, Peacock will have on-demand replays and original programming, including preview and recap shows spotlighting marquee sports.
This will be third Olympics for Peacock, which launched in 2020, although the first Summer Games in which it has all events.
“I think this is going to be a chance for fans to engage in ways that they haven’t really been able to before, because you’re going to have all of these content options,” said Peacock president Kelly Campbell. “We’re giving people this flexibility to watch and enhance the viewing experience.”
U.S. viewers streamed 5.5 billion minutes from Tokyo, a 22% increase over Rio in 2016, according to NBC and Nielsen.
NBC is hoping the expanded hours will help ratings rebound after the Tokyo and 2022 Beijing winter games, which were held in pandemic conditions without fans.
Tokyo averaged 15.6 million prime-time viewers, including cable and streaming. That was down 42% from Rio. Beijing fared worse, with a combined average of 11.4 million.