Perhaps the only bright spot for NBC lately has been their recurring involvement with the Olympics. I hate to be the downer but the Vancouver opening ceremonies WILL NOT live up to that of Beijing, not even close. No one will ever top that choreography, style, or sheer number. But unfortunately for NBC, that’s kind of how the recent sledding has gone. Truth be told, I do like the Olympics regardless and will tune in to watch the major events, like the downhill skiing with Lindsey Vonn, the speedskating, maybe a little ice dancing with Tanith Belbin, and of course the hockey. For any die-hard Games watcher, NBC has a myriad of channels and endless coverage to choose from.
On Friday February 12th at 7:30 EST, Vancouver’s BC Place will be packed with nearly 55,000 people to watch the opening of the Games. This marks the first time that the opening will be held indoors. I have been to BC Place before, and let me tell you, I have seen parking structures prettier than it. Hopefully the Canadian officials have worked out the logistics of where and how the Olympic flame will burn (isn’t it supposed to be visible from the outside?).
NBC and its affiliates will provide almost 200 hours of coverage over the 17 day span. The major sports will be covered along with the smaller events on the affiliate channels, probably at weird times of the days.
The USA Network will carry the hockey and curling matches starting Valentine’s Day. They will carry the prelims as well as a bronze medal curling match, which I’m sure that no one cares about. More interesting will be the USA/Canada hockey matchup at GM Place, home of the Vancouver Canucks. The place will surely be rocking with rabid Canadian fans with their patented chants and horn blowing. It is, admittedly, one of the few things that Canada does better than us. MSNBC will also get into the mix with carrying other hockey and curling matches. The first drop of the puck will occur on Feb. 13 with Team Sweden will dismantle Switzerland by about eight goals. The Swiss are good for two things, banking and cheese, not hockey. In total, NBC and its affiliates will carry at least 24 hockey games (and 18 curling matches for those keeping track at home).
Universal Sports HD, that channel on your guide that pops up from time to time, will carry highlights as well as replays, all of which will be in HD. Combine that with a recap show in the morning and at night along with a regular round table of discussion, UHD will get the most viewers it has in two years.
There will be many channels that feature Olympics coverage in Vancouver, allowing for the optimal viewing experience. While Greece will enter first, the largest roar at BC Place will be that of the home country, who will enter last. As much as I hate to say it, I will watch the opening ceremonies, for it’s a day when the world stops what they are doing and unites under the roof of sport.
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