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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

Netflix CEO: ‘We’re Not Anti-Sports, We’re Just Pro-Profit’

“He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.”

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Netflix will not join Apple and Amazon in the rush to gobble up live sports rights. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos addressed the streaming giant’s disinterest at the UBS Global Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Wednesday.

He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.

“We’re not anti-sports,” Sarandos said according to Deadline. “We’re just pro-profit. We have yet to figure out how to do it. But I’m very confident we can get twice as big as we are without sports.” 

Questions about the interest the company has in carrying live sports have come up several times in the past. Sarandon made similar comments last year when asked about it.

Reed Hastings, Sarandos’s co-CEO at Netflix, has a slightly different view. In 2021, he indicated that Netflix could be interested in F1 rights someday thanks to the success of its documentary series Drive to Survive, but that would be a special case. Any league interested in doing business with Netflix, he said, would have to allow Netflix to control all of its content.

Ted Sarandos echoed that sentiment in his most recent comments. He said that the company does not see a way to profit by “renting big-league sports.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

Jordan Bondurant

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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