NEW YORK – The Olympic Channel has already drawn attention for one of its upcoming programs. Beginning on Aug. 28 and running through Sept. 4, the channel will replay in primetime all eight original broadcasts of the 1992 Dream Team. But the biggest test for this network will be finding an audience during non-Olympic periods for Olympic sports, which typically go ignored by the majority of American viewers. In addition, the channel will launch on the heels of a disappointing Rio Games for NBC: The Games drew 15% fewer viewers than the 2012 London Games, marking the first time since 2000 that the total audience declined from the previous Olympics. Still, with its large initial base of potential viewers and the ability to “help frame stories for Team USA,” [USOC chief marketing officer Lisa] Baird said, the Olympic Channel will have the potential to own a slice of the market currently unoccupied — a channel devoted only to Olympic sports, and one backed by NBC and its sponsors, no less. The launch provides “an additional channel that gives us a lot more shelf space to provide both more coverage of events we have always covered,” said [NBC Olympics president Gary] Zenkel, “as well as more events that we haven’t necessarily had the means to cover.” –Excerpt from the July 13th article in USA Today. Full story. Your Ed. has been watching the Olympic Channel in the Bay Area on Comcast/Xfinity channel 739 and recommends it. For Olympic sailing, the promise is in the last sentence of that story, "as well as more events that we haven't necessarily had the means to cover." And one year after the Rio Games, coverage of sailing is showing up on the channel and on YouTube, including races that the host broadcast covered with cameras with but did not air. The Rio medal races aired at one time or another in the USA but not on the main network – including the medal race for the Finn Class won by Caleb Paine (USA, San Diego) to secure his silver medal, the only sailing medal won by the USA in the last two (2016 and 2012) Olympics. Relive that exciting race via YouTube here. Some of the other Finn Class racing at Rio, including the days they were "outside" in big air and seas, that was not broadcast is now available on the Finn Class website here.
The USA's Caleb Paine winning the medal race at Rio 2016 to secure his silver medal in the Finn Class. Getty Photo via the Sporting News.