Big news out of the largest Olympic broadcast partner today, as NBC will not send their announce teams to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics starting February 4th.
“The announce teams for these Olympics, including figure skating, will be calling events from our Stamford (Conn.) facility due to COVID concerns,” Greg Hughes, senior vice president communications, NBC Sports, said in a phone interview.
“We’ll still have a large presence on the ground in Beijing and our coverage of everything will be first rate as usual, but our plans are evolving by the day as they are for most media companies covering the Olympics.”
Not having broadcast teams on-site often takes away plenty of the nuance from sporting events, and this is a massive deal for fans and consumers at home. As anyone that’s seen a soccer or college basketball game covered remotely from a television screen thousands of miles away can attest, plenty of nuance about the event often gets lost. And if the camera isn’t pointing right at what’s happening, that’s completely lost to the viewer at home.
For figure skating that’s a big loss, as the popular duo of 1998 gold medalist Tara Lipinski and 2008 World Championships bronze medalist Johnny Weir are often a part of the coverage not just on the ice. We’ll see if they’re able to integrate the pair into other parts of what is always wall-to-wall coverage of the Games across multiple NBC/Universal platforms.