The News-Times

NBC Sports will broadcast winter Olympics from Conn. studio

- By Paul Schott pschott@ stamfordad­; twitter: @paulschott

STAMFORD — NBC Sports says it will not send any sport-specific announcing teams to cover the winter Olympics next month in China because of COVID-19 concerns.

The announcing teams for sports such as figure skating, alpine skiing and snowboardi­ng will instead work from NBC Sports’ headquarte­rs in Stamford during the Olympics, which will be held in Beijing from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20.

In Stamford, those announcers will call action taking place 13 hours ahead of the U.S. eastern time zone. Similarly, during the summer Olympics last year in Tokyo, many announcers worked at the Stamford headquarte­rs.

“The announce teams for these Olympics, including figure skating, will be calling events from our Stamford facility due to COVID concerns,” NBC Sports said Wednesday in a statement. “We’ll still have a large presence on the ground in Beijing and our coverage of everything will be first-rate as usual, but our plans are evolving by the day as they are for most media companies covering the Olympics.”

The statement did not specify how many announcers would be working in Stamford.

At the same time, on-air commentato­rs including Mike Tirico will still go to Beijing. Tirico will anchor NBC’s Olympic primetime show in Beijing from Feb. 3 through Feb. 10 before flying about 6,200 miles to Los Angeles. He will continue his Olympic hosting the next night, on Feb. 11, from a set outside SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. The stadium will host Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, which will be broadcast on NBC.

As it prepares for the Olympics, China is grappling with major disruption­s created by the COVID-19 omicron variant. In response to omicron’s spread, Chinese authoritie­s have imposed lockdowns that have kept tens of millions of people in their homes.

In response to COVID-19, only “selected” spectators will be allowed to attend the Olympics, organizers said Monday.

Despite the pandemic’s disruption, NBCUnivers­al, the parent company of NBC Sports, is not scaling back its Olympics programmin­g. It plans to carry a winter Olympics-record of more than 2,800 hours of coverage across NBC, Peacock, USA Network, CNBC, NBCOlympic­ and the NBC Sports app for the 24th winter Olympiad.

Since its opening in 2013, NBC Sports’ headquarte­rs at 1 Blachley Road, on Stamford’s East Side, has played an important role in producing the broadcaste­r’s programmin­g for each of the winter and summer Olympics held since then.

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