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NBC Going All-In on Virtual Reality Olympic Coverage

Jason Barrett

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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.

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Sports TV News

Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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