TV & Streaming

Things are looking up for NBCU ahead of the Paris Olympics

Ticket sales are high, trials ratings are robust, and the network is hoping to capitalize.
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With the Summer Olympics in Paris just three weeks away, it seems like everything is coming together.

Thirty days out from the opening ceremony, tickets to the summer games were nearly sold out, with more than 10 million tickets purchased and only some soccer tickets remaining, Rick Cordella, the president of NBC Sports, said in late June at a press event held in New York. In April, 100 days from the start of the games, NBCU announced that it had netted $1.2 billion in ad sales from advertisers looking to appear in the 2024 games broadcast.

Television viewership is also looking robust: Olympics trials ratings are up about 60% from 2021 across NBC and the USA Network, Cordella said, and on June 30, the Olympics gymnastics team qualification event that featured Simone Biles led NBC and Peacock to have the most-watched US Olympic trials since 2016. They’re all promising signs for NBCU, which has the rights to the games through 2032.

“The last two games in Tokyo and Beijing were significantly challenged by Covid protocols and a difficult time zone,” Cordella said during the event, nodding to some of the ratings challenges that the last few broadcasts have faced. “The Olympics are back.”

As the event draws near, NBCU execs unveiled new details on Olympics programming and features as it seeks to bring even more new viewers—and Peacock subscribers—into the fold.

No time like prime time: NBCU’s prime-time show, which will air on NBC and Peacock each night to break down the day’s sporting events, will be called Primetime in Paris. The name was chosen to help “differentiate it from the live daytime coverage,” Molly Solomon, executive producer and president, NBC Olympics production, said at the press event.

The programming will include content featuring athletes while they’re in the Olympic Village, as well as conversations with coaches and families, Solomon said. There will also be a branded sequence called “Event of the Night,” which will use “storytelling firepower to cover the biggest stars,” she said.

“It’s a marked shift from London 12 years ago, the last time these games were hosted in Europe,” Solomon told attendees.

Free bird: It’s not just Primetime in Paris that’s new: Peacock’s getting additional features in its Olympics content hub. The hub will show all 329 medal events, according to a press release, as well as medal standings, an interactive schedule, and virtual channels, among other content.

The hub will also feature “Your Daily Olympic Recap on Peacock,” a generative AI program that uses a re-creation of the voice of Hall of Fame announcer Al Michaels to narrate highlights. The technology, which was trained on Michaels’s previous appearances on NBC, will create customized event playlists from the previous day for users.

NBCU editors will review content to ensure it’s correct before it goes public.

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