Live sports programming like the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the NCAA basketball tournament and the Daytona 500 are “big-event television,” programs that attract large, involved audiences at a time when consumers have generally been atomized into tiny niche markets, says Stuart Elliott.
According to Boston Globe, NBC Universal will air a staggering 835 hours of competition during its 17 days of coverage, a total that includes programming on NBC as well as MSNBC, USA, CNBC, and NBCOlympics.com.
David Neal, an executive producer at NBC Sports, and a 29-time Emmy Award winner, is producing his ninth Olympics. Here’s some insight into what he and his NBC team of 2000 are looking to deliver:
“Americans want to see Americans win, but the second-best story from an emotion standpoint is when the home team wins. That’s great drama. And that’s what the Olympics are about – the Olympics are more about drama and personalities and stories than they are about pure sport.
“That’s why they are so appealing to American television viewers. It’s because it’s a series of human stories that just happen to be related by the fact that they’re sports events. But you’re introducing the stars of the show, and the stars are the athletes. The genuinely emotional stuff, that can’t be embellished.”
Through Saturday, 97 million people have watched the Vancouver Olympics Winter Games on the networks of NBCU; nine million more than watched the first two days of the Torino Games in 2006 according to Nielsen Media Research.
“It’s simply remarkable for a Saturday night, television’s least-watched night, to surpass the audience total for every one of the 17 nights of the last Winter Olympics without the benefit of figure skating – the single biggest event in a Winter Games – which was the featured event of the first Saturday night in Torino,” said Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports and Olympics.