A Look Back at the Most Successful Media Event In History

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

NBC Olympics’ exclusive and unprecedented coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics was the most ambitious media event in history, providing more ways to consume more hours of content across more platforms than any Olympics ever… and Rio 2016 dominated the competition. “The Olympics are a benefit not only to NBC Sports Group, but to many other facets of Comcast and NBCUniversal," said NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus. "Comcast’s rollout of the X1 platform with these Olympics was a huge success, and has given its customers new ways of experiencing the Games."

NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus: "As the headline says, Rio was the most successful event in media history. This is my third Olympics in this role, and each one of them has been a learning experience. Rio is no different. Our planning, production and presentation of the Rio Games, across broadcast on NBC, our many cable outlets, our streaming on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app and our massive social media outreach is the most impressive undertaking I’ve seen in the media world. As a company, across Comcast and NBCUniversal, Rio has been another proud achievement among a list of many. This is the most ambitious task in the media business, and our team of thousands scattered among Rio (2,000-plus), Stamford (more than 1,000), Orlando and Hialeah all deserve a Gold Medal." 

  • The networks and digital platforms of NBCUniversal presented an unprecedented 6,755 hours of programming for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad. NBCU presented 2,084 hours of Olympic linear programming across 11 networks: broadcast networks NBC and Telemundo (Spanish language); cable channels Bravo, CNBC, Golf Channel, MSNBC, NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), NBC Universo (Spanish language), and USA Network; plus two specialty channels, one each for basketball and soccer. Powered by Playmaker Media, NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app live streamed 4,500 total hours -- including all Olympic competition for the third consecutive Olympics -- for authenticated pay TV subscribers via TV Everywhere to desktops, mobile devices, and tablets, plus connected TVs for the first time. NBC Olympics also provided 4K Ultra HD content to NBCU distribution partners, as well as Virtual Reality (VR) programming, both Olympic firsts.

NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus: "The number of excellent on-air people who work for us regularly and on Olympic coverage is unequaled. Between our award-winning talent and all of the other announcers, reporters, and commentators who join us just for the Games, they did a tremendous job with insight, interviews and information. Coupled with our exceptional production team, we presented the American audience with pictures and stories that they will long remember. The athletic performances were again amazing – Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel, the Brazilian Men’s Soccer Team, Team USA as a whole with its medal dominance, Mo Farah, Inbee Park, Justin Rose, Kohei Uchimura...and the list goes on."

On the middle Sunday of Rio 2016, the collection of stars was captivating, and featured:

  • Usain Bolt’s historic victory in the 100 meters, marking an unprecedented third consecutive gold medal in the event

  • Bob Costas’ visit with Bolt in Jamaica

  • Simone Biles winning her third gold medal in Rio (in the vault)

  • Michael Phelps’ in-studio interview with Costas

  • Cris Collinsworth’s candid discussion with 100-meter silver medalist Justin Gatlin

  • Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross winning a thrilling quarterfinal in beach volleyball

  • A feature on 400-meter gold medalist Wayde van Niekerk

  • Allyson Felix-led Team USA qualifying for the women’s 400m final

NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus: "The audience for these Games was enormous, encompassing almost 200 million Americans overall on television alone, not to mention those engaged on our other platforms. NBC’s primetime broadcasts were again the dominant form of consumption for Americans, accounting for about 95% of all of the primetime audience. But by putting events—for the first time ever in primetime--on NBCSN, Bravo, and at times USA Network, as well as streaming primetime in pattern, we learned a lot about consumption habits and attracted new audiences. We’ll use all of the data from all of our platforms to develop our plans for PyeongChang in 2018 and Tokyo in 2020."