In a major shakeup for US Olympic television coverage, NBC has announced it will be broadcasting live events in 2018 rather than its usual time-delayed highlight reel.
Yesterday, the network shared that events in Pyeongchang have been scheduled to correspond with traditional Primetime hours in the US, so NBC viewers will be able to watch big-ticket events like figure skating and alpine skiing live.
NBC drew fire in 2016 for its handling of the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro when it chose to withhold live access to the most popular Olympic events. Instead, the network played a highlight reel of each day’s most popular events during a primetime block that started at exactly 6 p.m. in every time zone.
This arrangement meant that US fans knew the results of each event hours before they were able to watch it, and viewers on the West Coast had to wait three hours to watch the same coverage as the East Coast. With cord-cutting, online streaming, and social media playing a bigger role in TV consumption than ever before, this left many Olympics fans frustrated.
Fortunately, it looks as though NBC is looking to change that for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. In addition to offering live coverage of the Games during primetime, the network will broadcast its Olympic coverage simultaneously across all US time zones beginning at 8 p.m. ET. That means the Olympics will spill into what is normally late-night hours for the East Coast, but they will begin at 5 p.m. for viewers on the West Coast (PT).
NBC will also broadcast live coverage of other events on its various other networks and online. Here’s how the schedule breaks down:
NBC local channels will feature approximately 176 hours of Olympic coverage, including live figure skating, snowboarding, alpine skiing, and short track speed skating. In addition to Primetime coverage, NBC will show a daytime block of Olympic programming from 3–5 p.m. ET, which will be simulcast from coast to coast.
NBC Sports Network will show over 360 hours of Olympic coverage, with live primetime events and 10 days of 24-hour coverage. As of now, the channel is set to feature medal rounds for bobsledding, luge, short track, hockey, and snowboarding.
The CNBC channel will feature relatively minimal Olympic coverage, with just 46 hours of content. The highlight, though, will be its evening telecasts of curling.
- USA Network
The USA Network is slated to show just 40 or so hours of Olympic events, but it will feature (mostly) live coverage of hockey and curling.
- Olympic Channel
If you have fuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, a DIRECTV NOW Go Big package, a PlayStation Vue Core package, or a qualifying cable package, you’ll be able to watch the Olympic Channel. This channel will mostly act as a highlight reel channel, with live coverage of medal ceremonies in the early morning, news and highlights during the morning and afternoon, and a recurring daily studio show (Winter Olympics Daily) featuring Emmy-winning journalist Jimmy Roberts.
- NBCOlympics.com/NBC Sports App
For the first time ever, NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports App will offer livestreaming of the NBC broadcast channel during its Olympic coverage blocks. In addition, fans can access the site and app on their computers and mobile devices. There, users can stream live coverage of competitive events, a news desk–style show, Olympic news, live practices, and three other digital-only programs.
Fans can also use their cable or streaming service credentials to log into the NBC Sports TV Anywhere app and enjoy the same comprehensive Olympics coverage on their Smart TVs and other streaming devices.
All told, that translates to more than 1,800 hours of Winter Olympics coverage over the course of a little more than two weeks.