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NBC Selling Intimacy, Community With Olympics Coverage

The Opening Ceremony took place on Friday in Tokyo.

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Courtesy: Arab News

The Opening Ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics has commenced, bringing an unprecedented broadcast challenge for NBC. Andrew Marchand spoke with NBC Sports Olympics Executive producer Molly Shannon about their strategy for a Games that will largely be fanless.

“We really believe the Tokyo Olympics will be the most meaningful Olympics in our lifetime,” Solomon said.

A year of extra preparation and firsthand knowledge of what a strong fanless broadcast looks like gives Shannon and her team confidence heading into the multi-week event. NBC is swapping wide crowd shots for more intimate conversations that Olympic fans have never had access to.

“We believe there’s an opportunity to bring viewers closer to the action than ever,” Solomon said. “And it’s sports like swimming, gymnastics, track, basketball, beach volleyball. You’re going to hear the sounds of games like you’ve never heard them before — from the thrashing and splashing in the pool to these intimate conversations between competitors and coaches.”

Sports like football and baseball had crowd noise artificially pumped into the stadium or the broadcast feed over the past year, but Shannon noted the swath of events is too large for tailor-made audio overlay. Although, some venues will be playing crowd noise on their own to build a more normal feel into the events for athletes.

NBC has a massive broadcast package to offer its viewers, including 17 consecutive nights and 250 hours on broadcast TV, 1,300-plus hours on cable, 5,500 hours on digital, 300-plus on Telemundo. Also, Peacock is airing a plethora of live gymnastics, track, and USA Basketball events.

Marchand confirmed that more feature storytelling is coming to tell the athlete’s tales. NBC has worked in part with other global broadcasters to gather as much information as possible on the athletes. Adapting to circumstance has been the name of the game in sports media over the past year, that’s not changing as the Olympics begin in the Land Of The Rising Sun.

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2021 Most-Watched College Football Season Ever For FOX

“And with the advent of streaming, FOX is seeing gains there too..”

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FOX Sports has been a college football broadcast rights holder going on 15 years now. In recent years, it seems like the network has really hit its stride in terms of programming, getting fans and viewers ready for its slate of games dubbed “Big Noon Saturday.”

In 2019, the network began an effort to essentially compete with ESPN staple College GameDay by debuting its own pre-game show named Big Noon Kickoff.

FOX Sports on Wednesday reported that the efforts to make its college football pre-game show appointment programming have been paying off.

Big Noon Kickoff averaged 1.383 million viewers in 2021, which the network says is up 15% over its debut season in 2019.

In terms of game viewership, FOX says its broadcast window is also up double digits, 13%, from 2019. The network reports 2021 is its most-watched regular season ever, averaging almost 4 million viewers.

And with the advent of streaming, FOX is seeing gains there too. A sign college football fans everywhere are embracing the product the network is putting together each season.

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Duke and Gonzaga Turn In Big Ratings For ESPN

“An average audience of 2.79 million tuned in to see the game.”

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Conventional wisdom says that it isn’t basketball or hockey season until football is over. That is probably still true, but on Friday night ESPN proved that if you get big name programs with some star power together, college basketball can hang any time of the year.

Duke’s win over Gonzaga brought more eyeballs to ESPN’s coverage of early-season college basketball since 2018. An average audience of 2.79 million tuned in to see the game. That is the largest audience for a college basketball game played before New Year’s Day since the same two teams met in the finals of the Maui Invitational three years ago and drew 2.85 million viewers.

The real win is that the game outrated a college football game on the same night. ESPN’s coverage of NC State’s win over North Carolina only drew 2.68 million viewers. It is an added bonus that Duke can hold over their Tobacco Road rivals.

Before the game, Duke was ranked #5 and Gonzaga was ranked #1. After, Duke rose to #1. Since then, the Blue Devils fell to Ohio State and likely will drop in next week’s rankings. Still, every Duke game this season will come with a little extra attention. This is the final season with the legendary Mike Krzyzewski on the Duke bench.

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Marcus Spears: I Would Put Mike Greenberg In The Hospital

“I love him, he’s my brother, but I would try and saw him in half because he has that stank arrogance of a quarterback.”

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Dan Patrick had ESPN’s Marcus Spears on his show Tuesday and presented him with a topic that was very interesting.

Let’s be real, we all want to hit our co-workers from time to time, and Dan Patrick presented Spears with this hypothetical scenario for three of his fellow co-workers at ESPN.

“If I gave ya a free shot, would it be at Keyshawn Johnson, Ryan Clark, or Dan Orlovsky?” said Patrick.

“Dan Orlovsky, and I would try and saw him in half DP,” Spears replied. “I gotta be honest with you.”

“I love him, he’s my brother, but I would try and saw him in half because he has that stank arrogance of a quarterback. That comes off and sometimes you just want to let him know, you really aren’t an athlete.”

Dan Patrick then took the question up a level by adding a fourth option to the mix.

“What if I threw Greeny (Mike Greenberg) in there, would you choose him?”

Spears replied, “Yeah, I would want to see how long he would be in the hospital.”

The answer caused Patrick to bust out in laughter, which in turn made Marcus Spears laugh.

It will be interesting to see how the challenge and answer play out on the NFL Live and Get Up sets. Marcus Spears is one of the most likable personalities at ESPN. Certainly, there will be no bad blood. It will be curious if anyone has a challenge to throw back at him though.

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