One day after competition begins at the 2014 Winter Olympics, the world will turn its undivided attention toward Sochi, Russia for the Games' opening ceremony on Feb. 7.
Before any medals are awarded, the Olympic flame will first have to be lit. That signature moment is often the most memorable highlight of the Games' opening ceremony, but certainly not the only one.
Sochi's Fisht Olympic Stadium will host the highly anticipated opening ceremony at 8 p.m. local time. However, viewers around the world will be watching live at all hours.
Below we'll get you set with everything you need to know to view the entire ceremony live or delayed.
Date: Friday, February 7, 2014
Start Time: 11 a.m. ET, 8 p.m. local time
|Date||Coverage Start Time||Network|
|Friday, Feb. 7||7:30 p.m. ET (tape delay)||NBC|
|Friday, Feb. 7||10 a.m. ET||CBC, TSN, TSN2, Sportsnet and Sportsnet ONE|
|Friday, Feb. 7||10:30 a.m. ET||BBC Two|
No Live Stream Option
Although viewers can watch every minute of Olympic competition online as it unfolds this winter, NBC executives aren't crazy about the idea of Americans streaming Feb. 7's opening ceremony live online and therefore won't allow online viewers any live options for the Winter Games' big spectacle.
NBC Sports execs confirmed that this year's Olympic Opening Ceremony will be carried on TV only, and will not be streamed. #backwardstep— Robert Bailey (@NFLrecord) January 8, 2014
According to Variety's Brian Steinberg, NBC Universal execs want to "maximize the viewing experience" and probably also want to make sure that people are tuning in to watch in prime time on Friday night. With ratings and a quality presentation taking priority, American viewers hoping to watch the event on television will either have to wait eight hours or take to Twitter to follow the action in the early afternoon.
NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus explains the motivation behind the company's decision to eliminate the live streaming option for the opening ceremony, per Steinberg:
We want to put context to it, with the full pageantry it deserves. We are looking to maximize the viewing experience for our audience.
While it's clear as to why NBC Universal would rather air the opening ceremony just once during prime time, the live viewing experience will likely be poor or nonexistent for those watching in the U.S. as a result.
Viewers Outside U.S. Will Have Live TV Viewing Options
As Mashable's Max Knoblauch points out, viewers in Canada and European countries will be able to watch the ceremony happen live as it unfolds depending on their cable provider.
How do you plan on viewing the opening ceremony?
Knoblauch adds that American viewers will have a tough time watching live on foreign channels: "U.S. viewers hoping to watch BBC or CBC coverage are also out of luck, as those stations are required to restrict streaming access to U.S. viewers due to broadcast rights."
Twitter is an unbeatable option for anyone with online access. Olympians, reporters and those watching around the globe will be tweeting images, Vines and other media constantly as the opening ceremony moves along.
But if you're dead set on catching it on television and don't have any plans Friday night, you're better off waiting for the delayed broadcast on NBC, which promises to feature exceptional commentary and production.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.