For the first time, NBC will start coverage of the Olympic Games before the Opening Ceremony.
The NBC broadcast network will begin coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia, on Thursday, February 6 — one night before the Opening Ceremony. Coverage on the first night of the Olympics will include skiing (women’s freestyle moguls) as well as new events in figure skating and snowboarding.
As Sochi is nine hours ahead of the East Coast, NBC’s coverage will be tape delayed.
It is not unusual for television coverage of the Olympics to begin before the Opening Ceremony. Last year, NBC Sports Network and MSNBC aired Olympic soccer on the Wednesday and Thursday before the London Opening Ceremony. However, next year will mark the first time ever that such coverage has aired on a broadcast network [though NBC claimed this was the case in a press release, it is in fact not true. ABC aired coverage of the 1980 Winter Olympics before the Opening Ceremony].
NBC will not include the February 6 coverage in its overall Olympic averages, an indication that they expect below average numbers. Even so, the extra day of coverage will be a boon for the network compared to its usual Thursday night line-up of critically-acclaimed — yet poorly rated — comedies.