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NBC shows sports made famous by Games

May 27, 2002  •  Post A Comment

NBC Sports will expand its carriage of sporting events associated with the Olympics between Games in deals that involve skiing, snowboarding, track and field and the inaugural USA vs. Australia Swimming Challenge.
A four-year deal with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association will add eight hours each winter to existing programming plans, including prime-time coverage of the U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix from Park City Mountain Resort in Utah, the site of last February’s Olympics, on Dec. 21.
It is a chance “for American audiences to know more than Bode Miller and Ross Powers and Kelly Clark as we move toward the 2006 Games in Torino, Italy,” said Ted Morris, USSA sales and marketing VP.
The headline on the track and field additions is “prestige events.” NBC Sports will cover the 2003 Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden (the oldest indoor invitational in the country) on Feb. 8, the popular Prefontaine Classic next May and the USA National Track & Field Championship in June 2003.
Craig Masback, CEO of USA Track & Field, expects “broadcasts featuring record-breaking performances” because of the combination of NBC Sports’ promotional strengths and meets featuring competitors such as Marion Jones and Maurice Greene.
As for the April 2003 meet pitting the two superpowers of swimming against each other, USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Welgus dares to compare it to a legendary sports event when he says, “The `Duel in the Pool’ will be to swimming what the `Thrilla in Manila’ was to boxing-a real heavyweight battle to decide the World’s No. 1 swim team.”
For NBC, which has the U.S. broadcast rights to the Olympics through 2008, the programming presents additional opportunities to raise awareness of the sports and the personalities between Games.