With 2013 rapidly coming to a close, it’s time to take a look ahead to what’s bound to be the biggest sports media story of early 2014: the Winter Olympics.
NBC released its complete coverage plan Thursday, and here’s the bottom line: Viewers will have more options than ever before.
Starting Feb. 6, NBCUniversal will present 1,539-plus hours of coverage from Sochi, Russia, across multiple platforms, more than the previous two Winter Games combined. That includes several alternatives to the network’s delayed prime-time coverage, a source of great frustration for West Coast viewers, particularly in the age of social media.
In addition to NBC’s 185 hours of coverage split among three day parts (daytime, prime time, late night), NBCSN will carry 230 hours — including live figure skating and men’s and women’s ice hockey. MSNBC and USA Network will supplement the hockey coverage. CNBC will be the primary home for curling. The three networks will carry 124 hours of coverage in all.
But wait, there’s more. An additional 1,000-plus hours of live streaming content — more than double the 2010 Vancouver Games — will be available to cable and satellite subscribers via NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra app. Customers can go to NBCOlympics.com to verify their subscriptions and gain access – at no additional cost — on their computers, tablets and mobile phones.
There is one catch: the 12-hour time difference between Pacific Time and Sochi time. If you want to catch live figure skating or hockey, you’re going to have to keep some crazy hours. For example, the men’s game between Team USA and Russia begins at 4:30 a.m. Pacific on Feb 15.
But at least the option is available. In 2014, that’s the way it should be.
FOX RADIO CHANGES
Significant changes are coming to Fox Sports Radio’s lineup starting Jan. 6.
Steve Hartman and Pat O’Brien, co-hosts of “Fox Sports Primetime” from noon-3 p.m., are being replaced, FSR spokesperson Amanda Deutchman confirmed. The Los Angeles Daily News first reported the story.
Hartman, a local radio fixture, will continue to work for FSR on weekends as a “special contributor,” Deutchman said.
“Petros &Money,” co-hosted by Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith, no longer will air nationally but will continue in its 3-7 p.m. time slot on KLAC/570.
FSR’s prime-time and overnight lineups also are changing. Dan Patrick (6-9 a.m.) and Jay Mohr (9 a.m.-noon) will remain in their current morning slots.
AFL ON ESPN
The Arena Football League is returning to ESPN.
The AFL and the network this week announced a multiyear rights agreement beginning in 2014. At least 10 games will air on ESPN’s TV networks annually, including the ArenaBowl, plus 75 or more games on ESPN3.
The AFL last appeared on ESPN in 2008. The league canceled the 2009 season before rebooting in ‘10. The AFL now features 14 franchises, including the expansion LA KISS, which will play at Honda Center.
ESPN will commemorate San Francisco’s Candlestick Park during “Monday Night Countdown” before the Candlestick finale between the Falcons and 49ers. Scheduled features include Steve Young “recreating” his winning TD pass to Terrell Owens in the January 1999 playoffs. …
NFL games rank as 30 of the 31 most-watched TV shows since Labor Day, according to the league. The lone exception: the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC (No. 20). …
The excellent crew from ESPN’s Thursday night games will work Saturday’s Las Vegas Bowl between USC and Fresno State on ABC: Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer, David Pollack and Samantha Ponder.
The ESPN/ABC Christmas Day NBA slate features five games, starting at 9 a.m. With all due respect to the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers, the best matchups are the last two on ESPN: Rockets-Spurs at 5 p.m. and Clippers-Warriors at 7:30. …
ESPN will provide multiple ways to consume the BCS title game with what it’s calling “BCS Megacast.” In addition to “traditional” coverage on ESPN and ESPN Radio, the options include eavesdropping on a conversation among analysts and special guests on ESPN2; watching the game from a film-room perspective on ESPNEWS; and watching it with only natural stadium sounds on ESPN Classic. …
SiriusXM will broadcast live play-by-play of 33 college bowl games, starting with Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl and concluding with the Jan. 6 BCS title game. …
Pac-12 Networks’ run-up to the Rose Bowl continues with three more classic game broadcasts next week. The first is the 1986 game between UCLA and Iowa, featuring the NBC announcing team of Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen. It airs at 7 p.m. on Sunday. …
The rating for ESPN’s coverage of the suspense-free Heisman Trophy presentation this past Saturday was down 13 percent, SportsBusiness Daily reported. …
Fox Sports extended its exclusive media-rights deals with the UEFA Champions and Europa leagues through 2018. …
Turner-owned Bleacher Report, which went in a new direction by hiring several respected journalists this year, reported record growth in 2013 on its website and mobile platforms.