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NBC Going All-In on Virtual Reality Olympic Coverage

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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.

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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