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NBCUniversal

NBCUniversal will stream some of the most popular Olympics sporting events exclusively on its new streaming service Peacock, executives said Wednesday.

Driving the news: Most notably, USA Men’s Basketball live coverage will be available on the streaming platform only to subscribers of Peacock's premium paid tier.

  • Other sports, like gymnastics and track and field will stream live on Peacock for free, in addition to daily live shows and original programming made custom for the Olympics on Peacock.
  • Peacock will also offer viewers the chance to watch sports-specific coverage through "Olympics channels," which include full event replays and curated highlights of NBC Olympics’ coverage.

Why it matters: The 2021 Tokyo Olympic games marks the first time that NBC — the longtime exclusive media partner for the Olympics — will be able to stream events on Peacock, which launched in April 2020.

  • "We're very optimistic we're going to bring on a new audience to Peacock and that this will continue to help us grow as we continue to add on more and more subscribers," said Matt Strauss, chairman of Peacock.

The big picture: Executives said during a press event Wednesday they were optimistic that the pandemic would drive more people to engage with the games.

  • "This is going to be the most meaningful Olympics of our lifetime," Molly Soloman, executive producer and president of NBCU Olympics, said.
  • While the group declined to offer exact ad sales figures, Dan Lovinger, executive vice president of ad sales for NBC Sports, said in a statement: "NBCUniversal is happy with our pacing and expects to exceed the Rio games."
  • NBCU sold more than $1 billion worth of ads for the 2016 games.
  • "We're in a robust position, but we're still open for a little business," said Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming.

Soloman presented a detailed coverage plan for the games, which include highlighting certain stars and events on different platforms and different times to ensure the most captivating storylines made it to primetime TV, and the more niche events and programming would filter out to NBC's other channels.

  • NBC will host 24/7 Olympic coverage on its cable networks USA and NBCSN, in addition to primetime slots on NBC and other coverage on "The Today Show."
  • Digitally, coverage will exist all over Peacock, as well as social media. Coverage will be live-streamed on NBColympics.com and on the NBC Sports app.
  • Executives also described in further detail the previously announced plan to livestream coverage on the Amazon-owned platform Twitch.

Be smart: Because the games were delayed by a year, NBC was able to invest more in streaming that it likely would've otherwise been able to last year.

  • "In many ways, we had an extra year to prepare," said Pete Bevacqua, chairman of NBC Sports Group.
  • Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, noted that the delay gave the network more time to negotiate even broader distribution agreements ahead of the games.

The bottom line: "We did one year out from the Tokyo Olympics twice," said NBC Olympics Primetime Olympics host Mike Tirico. "But this is the real deal."

Go deeper

Sep 8, 2021 - Sports

IOC suspends North Korea from Beijing Olympics

Members of the North Korean delegation look on from the stands ahead of the figure skating gala event during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Photo: Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee announced Wednesday that it has suspended North Korea from the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics after the country chose not to participate in this year's Tokyo Games due to the pandemic.

Why it matters: Although the decision will have "little immediate impact," it could prove consequential in shaping other political boycotts of future Olympic games, the Wall Street Journal noted.

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker