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NBC Going All-In on Virtual Reality Olympic Coverage

Jason Barrett

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NBC announced they teamed up with Intel True VR to provide more than 50 hours of live virtual reality coverage during next month’s Olympic Winter Games.

“The Olympics have long been an opportunity to showcase emerging media technology,” said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics. “With the help of Intel’s industry-leading virtual reality technology, NBC Olympics will deliver a transformative experience that will bring to Olympic fans an entirely new perspective on the speed, thrills, and excitement of an Olympic Winter Games.”

Intel True VR technology uses multiple cameras to create an interactive 360-degree virtual reality experience. Consumers with Windows Mixed Reality headsets, Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard and Google Daydream, paired with compatible iOS or Android devices will be able to take advantage of the VR programming using the NBC Sports VR app.

“The Olympic Games is a unique opportunity to bring people from around the world together to build camaraderie and cheer for their favorite athletes,” said James Carwana, vice president and general manager of Intel Sports Group. “We are enabling a truly immersive experience, where fans get closer to the action than ever before allowing them feel like they are sitting in the stands for a front and center view of history being made.”

VR programming will include the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, alpine skiing, curling, snowboarding, skeleton, figure skating, short track, ski jumping, ice hockey and big air. Replays of all previously livestreamed events will be available. Viewers will be able to switch between multiple camera angles and hear natural sound to provide the feeling of being live at the event.

The following is a full VR Live Schedule provided by NBC:

Date

Coverage

Time (ET)

Fri., Feb. 9

Opening Ceremony

8 p.m.*

Alpine Skiing (Men’s Downhill – Training)

9 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 10

Alpine Skiing (Men’s Downhill)

9 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 11

Curling (Mixed Doubles Semifinal)

7:05 p.m.

Mon., Feb. 12

Curling (Mixed Doubles Semifinal)

6:05 a.m.

Snowboard Halfpipe (Women’s Final)

8 p.m.

Snowboard Halfpipe (Men’s Qualifying)

11 p.m.

Tues., Feb. 13

Snowboard Halfpipe (Men’s Final)

8:30 p.m.

Wed., Feb. 14

Figure Skating (Pairs’ Free)

8:30 p.m.

Thurs., Feb. 15

Skeleton (Men’s Final)

7:30 p.m.

Fri., Feb. 16

Skeleton (Women’s Runs)

6:20 a.m.

Figure Skating (Men’s Free)

8 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 17

Short Track (Men’s and Women’s)

5 a.m.

Alpine Skiing (Men’s Giant Slalom)

8:15 p.m.

Alpine Skiing (Men’s Giant Slalom)

11:45 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 18

Mon., Feb. 19

Ski Jumping (Men’s LH Team)

7:30 a.m.

Figure Skating (Ice Dance)

8 p.m.

Tues., Feb. 20

Alpine Skiing (Women’s Downhill)

9 p.m.

Wed., Feb. 21

Ice Hockey (Women’s Gold Medal Final)

11:10 p.m.

Thurs., Feb. 22

Big Air (Women’s Final)

7:30 p.m.

Fri., Feb. 23

Big Air (Men’s Final)

8 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 24

Ice Hockey (Men’s Gold Medal Final)

11:10 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 25

Closing Ceremony

8 p.m.*

*Indicates same-day delay

NBC did offer VR programming for the 2016 Rio Olympics, but most content was available on next-day delay.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

ESPN Reportedly To Lose Big Ten Media Rights For the First Time in 40 Years

The idea is that FOX would have its marquee game kick off at noon, with CBS airing a game at 3:30. NBC reportedly will air games in primetime.

Jordan Bondurant

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BIG TEN, CBS, NBC, FOX SPORTS

After several months, it appears the Big Ten is nearing the finish line on a new media rights deal. And despite still reportedly being in negotiations with the conference, ESPN is looking set to lose out on media rights.

According to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, CBS and NBC are the frontrunners to join with FOX.

The idea is that FOX would have its marquee game kick off at noon, with CBS airing a game at 3:30. NBC reportedly will air games in primetime.

Ourand reported his sources told him ESPN’s deal to keep the Big Ten was not as strong as the one offered by the other two networks.

It would mark the first time in four decades that ESPN didn’t have some involvement in Big Ten sports. But Ourand indicates the worldwide leader could pivot into bundling Big 12 and Pac-12 rights as an alternative. Additionally the network would then pursue keeping its deals with NCAA for championship coverage as well as being the home for the College Football Playoff.

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Sports TV News

Pat McAfee: Deals With Amazon/ESPN Fell Short Because The Show Comes First

“Energy, time, anything away from this show… we got a lot going on. This is my number one focus and it should remain as such…”

Jordan Bondurant

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Last week, it was announced that Pat McAfee would be hosting his own version of the popular Manning Cast only for college football games.

McAfee, co-host AJ Hawk, and the rest of his cast and crew from The Pat McAfee Show will host an alternate feed for six college football games this season.

McAfee was rumored to be in talks with Amazon about potentially hosting an alternate broadcast for its Thursday NFL games, and the former Colts punter had also reportedly talking with ESPN about potentially being featured on College GameDay.

McAfee said to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post that ultimately the Amazon and GameDay deals didn’t come to fruition because it just didn’t make sense.

“I’ve had great conversations with both companies, we just weren’t able to get to a point where ‘the ask’ and ‘the business’ were where it needed to be to get a deal done on both fronts,” McAfee said.

McAfee on his show on Monday elaborated a bit further, trying to put to bed that he was being courted for Thursday Night Football.

“I’m not 100 percent sure if that’s what we were talking about, by the way,” he said. “I was never really approached for anything for Thursday Night Football. That was never really anything.”

Pat read from the full response to Marchand’s questions, posted under the Post story which appeared on the paper’s site Monday. He reiterated that his daily show and the small business he built around his show, take precedent over anything else.

“Energy, time, anything away from this show, this operation, this crew; we got families being built, we got houses being bought, we got 12 employees, we got a lot going on,” he said. “So this is my number one focus and it should remain as such because I have a brain, and also I care a lot about this operation. I love it, actually.”

Still, McAfee made it clear that just because no deal was signed with ESPN and Amazon for 2022 means the ship has sailed permanently. He’s keeping his doors open.

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Sports TV News

Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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