Olympics on TV: Big spectacle gets under way
Olympics • NBC kicks off its coverage with the Opening Ceremony.
Published: July 27, 2012 03:09PM
Updated: July 27, 2012 04:44PM
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The royal barge Gloriana carries the Olympic flame along the river Thames, ahead of the 2012 Summer Olympics, on the final day of the Torch Relay, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. The opening ceremonies for the 2012 London Olympics will be held Friday evening. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

The Summer Olympics open in London with — what else? — the Opening Ceremony (6:30-11 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5).

London organizers have tried to dampen expectations that they can somehow top the spectacle we saw in Beijing. We know the theme is “Isle of Wonder”; that Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”) and Stephen Daldry (“Billy Elliott”) are the creative directors; and that more than a billion people are expected to tune in across the globe.

And NBC’s Bob Costas will, no doubt, have a fun fact to accompany each of the more than 200 nations that are sending athletes to the Games.

Costas is nothing if not smooth, and he’s got more big-time, on-air experience than any other American broadcaster working these Games. After serving as late-night host at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games, he’s been the prime-time host of every Olympics since — Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Salt Lake City, Athens, Turin, Beijing and Vancouver.

BY THE NUMBERS

Here are some figures provided by NBC about how they have these Games covered.

2 • helicopters

50 • multi-channel record and playback machines

115 • TV commentators

164 • transportation staff

175 • videotape recording machines

191 • vehicles

300 • camera positions

2,000 • pieces of furniture

2,500 • color monitors

5,535 • total hours of NBC Sports Group’s coverage of London Olympics

28,080 • square feet of space at NBCs London venue compounds

30,480 • meters of fiber optic

50,000 • archived video tapes

50,612 • hotel room nights for NBC staffers

70,500 • square feet of NBC’s London studios

202,594 • meals served in 44 days

562,760 • servings of hot and cold beverages

HE SAID IT

“Nobody can know these 10,000-plus athletes and these 200-plus nations up and down,” Costas said. “I do not know who the top platform diver from Peru is. If, in fact, it becomes necessary to know, the researchers will let me know.”

Pierce on TV

Follow Scott D. Pierce’s reports on TV coverage of the Olympics at sltrib.com/blogs/tv; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.