For the first time in a European Olympics, network television in the United States will broadcast live coverage of swimming, gymnastics, and track & field events. Nine hours of daytime programming will air on NBC during the week, and an additional eleven on weekends. All major finals will air in the morning or late afternoon in New York because Paris is six hours ahead of the city. NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service will telecast all 329 medal events from July 26 through August 11, 2024.
Pete Bevacqua, the Chairman of NBC Sports, expressed his confidence in the quality of the Olympics’ coverage, saying, “The Paris Olympics are going to be the most binge-worthy event of 2024… For those wanting to watch the competition as it happens, Peacock will have everything live, creating the greatest single destination in sports media history.” Although it’s not the first time that NBCUniversal has aired live coverage of Olympics events, Molly Solomon, the Executive Producer & President of NBC Olympics Production, called it a better way to make the most of the time zone.
During the Tokyo Olympics, NBCUniversal aired most sports live on its sister channels for continuous coverage, but it kept the marquee events and finals for a more prime-time slot. Only those who subscribed to the Peacock streaming service could watch the gymnastics finals live. However, this time, NBCUniversal has promised to air all sports and events live through Peacock, excluding simulcasting on NBC.
According to Molly Solomon, NBC will showcase different features during prime time, including replaying significant events from the day, telling stories, and other unique characteristics. Mike Tirico, who will be the prime-time host, will also cover marquee finals during morning and weekday coverage. Besides the live coverage of all the events, Peacock will offer original programming content, on-demand replays, previews, and recaps of popular sports.
The Tokyo and Beijing winter games, which took place under pandemic conditions without fans, had the lowest ratings in a while. NBC is hoping that airing Olympics coverage throughout the day will increase ratings and regain public interest in the games. The 2022 Beijing winter games had 11.4 million viewers while the Tokyo Olympics had an average of 15.6 million prime-time viewers, a 42% decrease compared to Rio. NBC and Nielsen found that 5.5 billion minutes were streamed from Tokyo by American viewers, an increase of 22% from 2016’s Rio Olympics.