"Whatever is on schedule that day, if cameras are on it, we'll stream it." That's what NBC's Rick Cordella tells The New York Times, announcing that, for the first time ever, all 32 Olympic sports will be live streamed online this year. That amounts to a total of 2,500 hours of live coverage, completely changing how sports fans can watch the world's biggest sporting event. Traditionally, viewers in the U.S. would have to wait for NBC's tape-delayed primetime telecast to watch big Olympic events, leaving them vulnerable to results spoilers throughout the day. For the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, NBC streamed 25 sports live, but the network reserved truly headline-making sports for its evening broadcast. How excited should fans be about this summer's London live stream?
It's about time: "This feels more like a relief than a triumph," says Avi Wolfman-Arent at Bleacher Report. In the digital age of live-tweeting and instant access to information, the whole charade of saving the biggest events for NBC's tape-delayed primetime broadcast "felt archaic." Even in 2008, we could all just Google to find real-time results.
"2012 London Olympics: NBC to live stream all sports"
And it could actually improve ratings: This move benefits NBC as well as fans, says Richard Sandomir at The New York Times. In the past, live streaming a sporting event has actually increased the viewership of the tape-delayed broadcast on TV, as the stream sparks buzz that attracts viewers later. That's what happened with last year's legendary French Open semifinal between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
"At London Olympics, NBC says, 'If cameras are on it, we'll stream it'"
But there's a disappointing catch: It's about time NBC decided to "stop being stingy and embrace live streaming," says Jared Newman at TIME. Unfortunately, the network isn't "giving up protection for primetime" altogether. Viewers who miss the live stream of the most popular events — the ones people actually care about — won't be able to watch them on archived video until after they air on TV later that night. All other events will be archived immediately, though, "so no need to panic if you don't catch synchronized swimming in real time."
"NBC to stream entire 2012 Summer Olympics live"