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Japanese Official Says Tokyo Olympics Could Still Be Cancelled

The network was planning its first-ever live morning broadcast of an Opening Ceremony, followed by a special edition of TODAY and NBC’s first-ever Olympic Daytime show on the opening Friday of the Games.

Kate Constable

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After being postponed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics are set to begin on July 23. However, according to Front Office Sports, Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai has said there is a real possibility that the games could still be canceled.

“Of course. If the Olympics are going to be the factor causing COVID to spread extensively, then what are we holding the Games for?” Nikai said in an interview when asked if canceling is still an option.

The news comes as COVID-19 cases are rising in Japan and only 1.4% of the population vaccinated. FOS also notes that 40% of the population is in favor of canceling the games, and another 33% thinks they should be postponed, according to a recent poll by Kyodo News. 

In early February, NBC Sports put out a press release announcing the network’s coverage plans.

“NBC Olympics will provide unprecedented coverage of the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday, July 23, creating a full day of Olympic programming on NBC that culminates in what is always one of the most-watched nights in television with the primetime presentation of the Ceremony.”

The network was planning its first-ever live morning broadcast of an Opening Ceremony, followed by a special edition of TODAY and NBC’s first-ever Olympic Daytime show on the opening Friday of the Games.

If the games do indeed get canceled again, this would mean a major missed opportunity for NBCUniversal as the corporation was hoping the Olympics would turbocharge its Peacock streaming service, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

As far as the International Olympic Committee goes, postponing the games in 2020 cost them an estimated $800 million, and the total cost of the games could be around $25 billion, per FOS.

Sports TV News

FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts

“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

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FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.

“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.

“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”

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Sports TV News

Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC

“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”

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Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.

“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”

Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.

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Sports TV News

Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”

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FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.

The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.

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