NBCUniversal To Stream Video On Facebook To Promote Olympics

NBCU, Facebook join again to generate chatter about media coverage that is increasingly being transmitted through digital means

Sochi Winter Olympics
Michael Heiman/Getty Images

Now that NBCUniversal is devoting more than 1000 hours to digital coverage of the coming Sochi Olympics, it makes sense that the company will partner with a social-media giant to draw viewers to its efforts.

NBC Olympics, part of the NBC Sports Group, will collaborate on burnishing the XXII Olympic Winter Games, in a deal that build on a similar effort the two companies had in place during the London Olympics of 2012.

“Building off of our successful collaboration for the London Olympics, we have expanded our relationship to better serve Olympic fans’ insatiable appetite for Games’ content,” said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics, in a prepared statement. “All with an eye on driving viewership to our multi-platform coverage, we will use our unique access to all aspects of the Sochi Games to ignite the Olympic conversation and engagement on Facebook.”

The broader relationship comes as NBCU makes a historic switch in the way it covers the Olympics. For years, the company has reserved the cream of the Games for primetime, even if it meant viewers had to wait hours after the contests actually took place and watch them on tape-delay. During the Sochi Games, NBCU will for the first time in a Winter Games show all competition live via streaming video, mostly to people who can verify the have a subscription to a cable, satellite or telecommunications provider.

As part of the agreement, the two companies will devise ways to use NBCU’s Olympics content on Facebook to spark chatter about the Games and  NBC’s coverage of them. NBC will for the first time debut feature video content on Facebook. The first of these vignettes, which launches Thursday, tells the story of the friendship between U.S. short-track speed skater J.R. Celski and Seattle rapper Macklemore after Celski suffered an on-ice accident in the months before the Vancouver Olympics during athletic trials.

Fans who visit the NBC Olympics Page on Facebook will also have the opportunity to ask questions directly to NBC Olympics commentator and Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes during NBC’s primetime coverage of 11 nights of figure skating performances.  The NBC Olympics page on Facebook will feature the most up-to-date news and information,along with d polls, photo galleries, trivia and sharable images.

Representatives from Facebook will  work with NBC Olympics editorial teams from Sochi to produce social media segments and other integrations of the social commentary surrounding the Games that will air across NBCU’s coverage.