NBCU launching year-round Olympics TV channel

NBC Olympics' prime time studio in Rio

Once every two years no longer has to cut it for Olympics fans because NCBUniversal is soon launching a new year-round Olympics channel.

The programmer has signed a deal with the International and U.S. Olympic Committee to launch the channel in the second half of 2017.  The companies say they’ve already assembled a comprehensive content and distribution partnership in the U.S.  for the soon-to-be-launched channel.

“Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA” will offer Olympics content from around the world but the emphasis will be placed on U.S. teams and athletes. The new linear channel will complement the Olympic Channel digital platform that launched after the 2016 summer games in Rio.

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The deal for the new Olympic Channel will also put additional coverage on networks including NBCSN and NBC Sports Digital outlets, starting with coverage on Dec. 17 of the Team USA Winter Champions Series.

In addition to airing live events featuring summer and winter Olympic sports, NBCU and the IOC will also collaborate to air original programs produced by filmmakers, archival footage from the IOC and NBCU’s library of Olympic features and documentaries, and original Team USA programming contributed by the USOC.

“Through this exciting new partnership with the USOC and NBCUniversal, we will ensure that U.S. audiences are more closely connected with the Olympic Movement through a more personalized experience,” said Mark Parkman, general manager of the Olympic Channel, in a statement. “The evolution of the Olympic Channel in the United States is a significant milestone as we expand our distribution options across the globe in conjunction with our broadcast and National Olympic Committee partners. Placing a spotlight on Olympic sports outside of the Games themselves will ultimately bring them more deserved attention and help them grow.”

“The Olympic Channel partnership will provide multiple, year-round platforms to highlight the incredible achievements and inspiring stories of Olympic athletes and the Olympic values they represent, including a full-time home for Olympic sports when we launch the new linear channel in 2017,” said Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, in a statement.

NBCU is also working with broadcast partners and National Olympic Committees to develop localized versions with region- and language-specific content on linear and digital platforms in certain territories.

RELATED: NBCU made $250M from Rio Olympics, despite huge ratings shortfalls

The Olympics are a costly yet popular endeavor for NBC so it makes sense for the programmer to attempt to wring more money out of the content. NBC has paid a whopping $12 billion for the exclusive rights to the U.S. Olympics broadcast through 2032. For the 2016 games, NBCU took in $1.2 billion in ad sales for the Games, a 20 percent increase over the 2012 London games.

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