NBC set to broadcast 6,500 hours of Rio Olympics on 11 networks, up to 40 web streams

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 5 (UPI) — Competition at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil, set to begin Saturday, will be covered and available to watch in the United States like none other have in world history.

NBC Universal, the United States’ exclusive Olympics broadcaster, is planning 6,500 hours of coverage from Rio on 11 different networks and via the Internet, the broadcaster said.

Two-thousand hours will air from traditional television coverage and the other 4,500 by web streaming via NBCOlympics.com — more than any other Olympic games in history. In fact, during the course of the 17-day event, there will be times when as many as 40 live streams will be available simultaneously, the company said.

RELATEDPhotos: The Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, Opening Ceremony

“What we found in 2012 in London, when we streamed everything for the first time, what we found is there was no cannibalization whatsoever,” NBC Sports digital media executive Rick Cordella said, referring the prospect of web streams stealing viewership from television broadcasts. “When the content is as premium and as good as the Olympics, things that are streamed only make people talk about it more on social media, which then amplifies the TV rating overall.”

The TV networks that will broadcast coverage in Brazil include NBC, NBC Sports Network, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, the Golf Channel, Telemundo (in Spanish), and NBC Universo (in Spanish).

RELATEDPhotos: Venues of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics

“We have to make sure the Olympics continue to appeal to young people,” NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke said. “People in my generation have all these memories of the Olympics, but is an 18-, 25- or 34-year-old going to show up? We have to make sure they do, and the way to do it is to stream and have a presence on Snapchat and everywhere else.”

NBC has been the sole U.S. broadcaster for the Summer and Winter Olympics since 2000. In 2014, the network agreed to pay $7.6 billion to continue holding the rights to future games through 2032.

The Opening Ceremony in Rio de Janeiro took place Friday night before competition starts Saturday. Brazil is the first South American nation ever to host an Olympics.

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