New linear Olympic Channel devoted to Olympic sports, athletes and stories to launch in second half of 2017
Partnership includes significant commitment of Olympic sports programming hours on NBC & NBCSN
In a groundbreaking collaboration to connect fans to the Olympic movement all year-round, the International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee and NBCUniversal have created a comprehensive Olympic Channel content and distribution partnership in the U.S., all parties announced on Thursday.
During the second half of 2017, the partnership will launch a new U.S. television network under the "Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA" brand that will offer fans year-round Olympic-sport programming from around the world, with an emphasis on their favorite American athletes and teams. The new partnership complements the Olympic Channel, which launched as a worldwide digital platform following the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Additional details about the launch of the new linear cable channel will be provided at a later date.
Along with the channel, the partnership also brings additional coverage of Olympic sports programs that will appear exclusively on other NBCU platforms - including NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Digital outlets. The first such coverage begins this Saturday, Dec. 17, with the Team USA Winter Champions Series.
The three organizations will collaborate to produce and distribute Olympic sports and Olympic-themed programming on a year-round basis between the Games, providing continuity that reflects the idea that, even though the Olympic flame is extinguished at the end of each Games, the athletes' own compelling stories and journeys continue.
The collaborative programming will emphasize live events from a broad portfolio of summer and winter Olympic sports. It will also include Olympic-themed original content produced by all three parties, such as original programs produced by filmmakers from around the world commissioned by the global Olympic Channel; rich archival footage from the IOC and NBCU's library of Olympic features and documentaries; and original Team USA programming contributed by the USOC.
"Through this exciting new partnership with the USOC and NBCUniversal, we will ensure that U.S. audiences are more closely connected with the Olympic movement through a more personalized experience," said Mark Parkman, general manager of the Olympic Channel. "The evolution of the Olympic Channel in the United States is a significant milestone as we expand our distribution options across the globe in conjunction with our broadcast and National Olympic Committee partners. Placing a spotlight on Olympic sports outside of the Games themselves will ultimately bring them more deserved attention and help them grow."
"The launch of the 'Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA' partnership marks an exciting opportunity to promote and celebrate Olympic and Paralympic sport year-round," said Scott Blackmun, USOC CEO. "Additionally, launching in conjunction with the inaugural Team USA Winter Champions Series broadcast is a great way to serve the fastest-growing fan base in American sports."
"This is wonderful news for fans of Olympic athletes and Olympic sports, and we're proud to partner with the IOC and USOC to bring the vision of the Olympic Channel to life in the United States," said Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics. "The Olympic Channel partnership will provide multiple, year-round platforms to highlight the incredible achievements and inspiring stories of Olympic athletes and the Olympic values they represent, including a full-time home for Olympic sports when we launch the new linear channel in 2017."
Following the launch of the global digital product and in partnership with rights-holding broadcast partners and National Olympic Committees, the Olympic Channel is developing localized versions, which will offer region- and language-specific user experiences on linear and digital platforms in certain territories, leading to more personalized experiences for Olympic fans around the world.
The pre-existing Olympic Channel is a multiplatform media destination where fans can discover, engage and share in the power of sport and the excitement of the Olympic Games all year round. Offering original programming, news, live sports events and highlights, the Olympic Channel provides additional exposure for sports and athletes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Olympic Channel was launched in August and is available worldwide via mobile apps for Android and iOS devices and at olympicchannel.com.