Jan 20, 2022 - Sports

ESPN won't send news personnel to Beijing Olympics due to COVID

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ESPN announced Thursday that it will not be sending news personnel to the Beijing Olympics due to concerns about COVID-19 and related pandemic restrictions.

What they're saying: "The safety of our employees is of utmost importance to us,” Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, event and studio production & executive editor, said in the press release.

  • “With the pandemic continuing to be a global threat, and with the COVID-related on-site restrictions in place for the Olympics that would make coverage very challenging, we felt that keeping our people home was the best decision for us.”

State of play: The network will instead "focus on covering the Games remotely," per the press release.

  • ESPN had originally planned to send four reporters to China, who will now join the network's remote coverage efforts.

The big picture: An NBC Sports spokesperson confirmed to Axios on Wednesday that announcers for the Beijing Games will be calling events from NBC's Stamford, Connecticut, facility "due to COVID concerns."

  • The Beijing Olympics open in 15 days.
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