The 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia are beginning shortly, but many fans aren’t even sure where and when they can catch all the action.
Finding your favorite sport or athlete can be a bit daunting due to the time difference between the United States and Russia, plus the sheer number of events taking place during the Winter Olympics. Fret not, though, as we’ve made it easy for you to identify and view exactly what you want, when you want.
Let’s take a look at the complete viewing guide for the upcoming Sochi Games, from the opening ceremony all the way through to the closing ceremony, plus highlight a few competitions you should definitely check out this February.
2014 Winter Olympics Info
Where: Sochi, Russia
When: Thursday, Feb. 6 through Sunday, Feb. 23
Watch: NBC, NBC Sports, USA, MSNBC, CNBC
Live Stream: NBCOlympics.com
Complete Viewing Information
|Date||Event||Start Time (ET)|
|Saturday, Feb. 8||Men’s Snowboarding, Slopestyle Finals||3:45 a.m.|
|Sunday, Feb. 9||Men's Alpine Skiing, Downhill Finals||2 a.m.|
|Saturday, Feb. 15||Men's Hockey, USA vs. Russia||7:30 a.m.|
|Tuesday, Feb 17||Figure Skating, Ice Dancing Free Skate Finals||10 a.m.|
|Thursday. Feb. 20||Women's Hockey, Finals||12 p.m.|
|Sunday, Feb. 23||Men's Hockey, Finals||6:30 a.m.|
The two above links will provide Olympic fans with everything they need to compile a complete and personalized schedule of the events that they care most about during the Games.
Patrick Rishe of Forbes estimates that 65 percent of adults in the United States (roughly 158 million people) are expected to tune in and watch at least some of the Sochi Games. Figure skating is projected to be the most popular sport, followed by ski jumping, speedskating, bobsled, alpine skiing and snowboarding.
It’s no surprise that NBC is doing everything in its power to get the Winter Olympics in front of as many people as possible, considering these are some of the most popular events in the world and only come around once every four years.
According to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, NBC has paid more than $775 million for the rights to broadcast the Games in the United States. In return, the network will show more than 1,539 hours of programming—a figure that eclipses the combined coverage from both the 2010 Vancouver and 2006 Turin Games.
While not every competition will air on television, the Peacock is making an unprecedented commitment to live streaming and elected to make all events—with the controversial and notable exception of the opening ceremony—available online.
As per Brian Steinberg of Variety, NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus explained that the decision to disallow a live stream of the opening ceremony was to emphasize its grandiose nature and bring families together to watch it on TV: “We want to put context to it, with the full pageantry it deserves…We are looking to maximize the viewing experience for our audience”
However, the rest of the events, including all of the much anticipated gold medal contests, will be aired regardless of start time. Contests that take place early in the United States morning will be re-aired online at 3 p.m. ET, giving fans another chance to watch.
How will you catch most of the Winter Olympic action?
There is even a dedicated live stream channel that takes a cue from the ever-popular NFL Red Zone program, which cuts between the most exciting plays and big moments every Sunday during the regular season.
It’s known as Gold Zone and will be found on NBCOlympics.com and NBC Sports’ Live Extra app, airing over 100 hours of hosted coverage that will jump around the most popular and exciting events in Sochi.
Jason Dachman of SportsVideo.com caught up with Rick Cordella, SVP/GM of Digital Media for NBC Sports Group, who didn’t shy away from admitting that Red Zone was the obvious inspiration for Gold Zone:
[NFL RedZone] is probably the best product that sports media has come out with in a long, long time. We are stealing a little bit of what the RedZone is for the NFL here. We will whip around and bring you from event to event with live look-ins and analysis. It tells the fan what is important going on right now.”
For hardcore fans of the Winter Olympics, 2014 promises to be the best Games yet. There are so many new and unique ways to view all of the action. Don’t be afraid to bookmark this page and refer back to it when you need to find an event to watch.