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NBCUniversal yesterday announced that it will provide 5,535 hours of coverage for the London Games across multiple platforms including NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo, NBCOlympics.com, two specialty channels and the first-ever 3D platform. The coverage is an increase of nearly 2,000 hours from the ’08 Beijing Games and includes a total of 272.5 hours on NBC, the most ever for an Olympic broadcast network. NBC's daytime coverage on most weekdays will start at 10:00am ET/PT and will begin as early as 5:00am on weekends. NBC Sports Network will serve as the home to U.S. team sports, with 292.5 hours of total coverage. MSNBC will carry 155.5 hours of long-form Olympic programming while CNBC will serve as the home for Olympic boxing with 73 hours of coverage. Bravo will televise 56 hours of long-form tennis coverage. In addition, NBCOlympics.com will live stream every event and sport for the first time ever. The site in total will live stream more than 3,500 total programming hours, including the awarding of all 302 medals (NBCUniversal). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Marisa Guthrie noted the amount of coverage “reflects a commitment to live stream -- via NBCOlympics.com -- every event via an authentication model.” NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus has “made live streaming the events from London a priority.” There will be “no live primetime events from London, which is five hours ahead of the U.S. in Eastern time zones.” Still, NBC will “protect some big events by not archiving them until after the West Coast primetime block so that viewers who missed the live stream will be inclined to catch up on linear TV” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 5/23).
TV EVERYWHERE: In L.A., Flint & James wrote NBC’s strategy “underscores Comcast's commitment to the media industry's TV Everywhere initiative.” The network has “even recruited its late-night host Carson Daly to make promotional spots to educate viewers about TV Everywhere.” NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel is “hoping that the Olympics will provide a motivation for distributors to hype TV Everywhere.” NBC's push to put more content online “contradicts the previous school of thought at the network, which once feared that such a move might hurt the prime-time audience.” But Zenkel “subscribes to the opposite theory and believes that the more content that is available online, the better the promotion and potential for a bigger audience in prime time.” He said, "Live streaming does not cannibalize the prime-time audience" (L.A. TIMES, 5/23).
The CBC has teamed up with "While The Men Watch," an Internet sportscast and blog for women "that offers insight not usually found on Coach’s Corner, to provide a 'cheeky adult soundtrack' to the Stanley Cup final," according to Laura Stone of the TORONTO STAR. The show will be hosted by Lena Sutherland and Jules Mancuso, whose "brand of 'girl talk' commentary will be live-streamed from CBC headquarters." Sutherland and Mancuso have "described their show as ESPN meets 'Sex and the City.'" CBC Exec Dir of Studio & Unscripted Programming Julie Bristow said the net teamed up with the women in order to “broaden the viewership to the game and to take it beyond the core hockey fan.” But Stone notes many "took to Twitter to decry the idea, calling it sexist and accusing the CBC of stereotyping women." Bristow said that the idea "is simply to engage more people in Canada’s favourite sport." She added, "I don’t think it’s in any way sexist. It’s just capturing a conversation -- that as I say, I think goes on in living rooms and bars all across this country when hockey games are on" (TORONTO STAR, 5/24). The program will be called "While the Men Watch Hockey Night," and debuts during Game One of the Stanley Cup Final next Wednesday (TORONTO SUN, 5/23).
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott called the new Pac-12 Network, which is scheduled to launch Aug. 15, a “game-changer for our conference.” Scott noted the conference previously had been “relegated to somewhat regional exposure for a lot of our games.” Scott: “With our partners ESPN and Fox, all of our football and basketball games are going to be on the air and be fully national in terms of exposure. What that’s going to mean for our programs exposure-wise is tremendous, and financially our schools are going to have resources they just haven’t had before.” Bloomberg TV’s Mark Crumpton noted the development of the net “could not come at a better time,” as the college sports market “is growing exponentially.” Crumpton: “Could this deal have been done, say, five years ago?” Scott: “I don’t think so. A lot of things have been done by other conferences and the market (is) very hot for college sports right now. We decided to launch our own TV network in part based on the success of the Big Ten Network, and that’s something that didn’t exist five years ago. The SEC did a terrific deal with ESPN and CBS where they raised the bar financially. We’ve benefited by some of our predecessor conferences doing strong deals.” Scott noted the conference retained enough content in the deals with ESPN and Fox “to launch our own TV network.” He said, “In the long-term, that will be the real game-changer. … Being in the media content business ourselves, we think as technology changes and all of that, we will benefit financially exposure-wise for our schools” (“Bloomberg Bottom Line,” Bloomberg TV, 5/23).
In New Jersey, Tom Gulitti reported NBC “blocked the Devils from holding a viewing party for their fans at Prudential Center” for last night’s Devils-Rangers Eastern Conference Finals Game Five after “allowing them to hold one" for Game Two last week. The Rangers, who had a viewing party at MSG for Game Four Monday night, also “will not be permitted to have one" for Game Six tomorrow. A source said that NBC’s decision “was ratings related.” Gulitti noted NBC Sports “did something similar” during the ‘09 playoffs when the Penguins were showing games on a video screen outside old Mellon Arena (NJ.com, 5/23). NBC in a statement said, "Viewing parties can have an adverse affect on viewership and, hence, on our obligations to our advertisers, sponsors and affiliates" (THE DAILY).
SOME THINGS BEST KEPT UNSAID: In Baltimore, Mike Preston writes he hopes ESPN “keeps the microphones out of team huddles” this weekend during the NCAA D-I men’s lacrosse Final Four in Foxboro, Mass. Viewers last weekend “heard a lot of foul language from coaches and some players because those microphones were open.” Preston writes, "There are times when emotions get the best of those involved in the game, but those moments inside a huddle don’t need to be captured on TV, especially from 18-to-22 year-old men” (Baltimore SUN, 5/24).
GENO GETS A NEW NAME: In Hartford, John Altavilla noted SportsNet N.Y. Senior VP/Production & Exec Producer Curt Gowdy Jr. has plans to take Univ. of Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma’s show “in a different direction.” There will be a “new show, tentatively to be called ‘Geno’s Legacy,’ intended to feature the coach chatting with a player who has made a difference.” Gowdy is in the process “of reviewing broadcast candidates.” Gowdy said that there “will be a sideline reporter and that ‘we will have more access to Geno during and before games.’” SNY President Steve Raab said that the net “will work with UConn to determine what starting times are best for the women” (COURANT.com, 5/23).
TRAIL BLAZER: SHERMANREPORT.com's Ed Sherman noted Pam Ward and Beth Mowins “were the only two women calling college football games for ESPN last year,” and when the net “cuts the field of female play-by-play voices in half, that’s news.” The net announced earlier this week Ward will not call games this season. She was the “first woman play-by-play voice on college football, beginning her run” in ‘00. Sherman wrote, “ESPN gave her 11 years. It’s not as if Ward was moved out simply because she is a woman” (SHERMANREPORT.com, 5/22).