The 2004 Summer Olympics begins tonight with coverage of the Opening Ceremony from Athens.
As athletes from 202 nations pour into the Athens Olympic Stadium, broadcasters from around the world will begin their coverage of what promises to be one of the most watched events in television history. In 2000, it’s estimated that 3.8 billion viewers watched the Summer Games from Sydney, and there’s no reason to believe any fewer will tune into Athens.
NBC Sports, the rights holder to the games in the United States, plans unprecedented coverage of the event with 1210 hours of coverage on NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, Bravo, Telemundo and NBC HDTV.
To cover the opening ceremony, the network will employ 61 cameras - 27 of its own, including a blimp-mounted camera, and 34 from host broadcaster Athens Olympic Broadcasting.
Noteworthy developments for domestic Olympic coverage this year include:
- Spanish-language coverage on Telemundo;
- Extensive use of the www.nbcolympics.com Internet for schedules, standings, reports and video highlights;
- On-screen cross-promotion directing viewers to various NBC platforms for desired event coverage;
- Olympic coverage cellular phone with NBC partner AT&T Wireless. As many as 23 million AT&T wireless subscribers will be able to receive Olympic alerts, NBC analyst commentary, results, medal counts and post-broadcast video clips.
Coverage of the http://www.nbcolympics.com/index.html 2004 Olympics is set against the backdrop of unprecedented security measures. Greece will spend $1.5 billion on security for the games, and NATO has deployed forces to respond to possible chemical and biological attacks, as well as naval and aerial security patrols.