The 2010 Olympics in Vancouver are less than a month away and NBC, which has purchased the rights to broadcast the games, will look to top its coverage of the 2008 Beijing Games, the most watched in Olympics history, with a record 835 hours of televised coverage. NBC Universal and the Vancouver Organizing Committee are taking advantage of the ever-increasing social media outlets by giving viewers more ways to follow and participate in the action on Twitter, Facebook and blogs.
The Organizing Committee’s Facebook page currently has over 300,000 fans and allows them to participate in discussions and post links, photos and videos from Youtube. Its Twitter page is routinely updated, in English and French, with Tweets on where the torch is (it’s currently on its way west out of Calgary) and gives tips on activities fans can to in Vancouver.
NBC’s Tweets and Blogs page takes a different approach, polling some of the athletes’ Twitter pages and posting their musings, Olympics-related and not. Check out this Tweet from U.S. skier Steven Nyman: “Worst run in a long long time today. Almost went into the hausberg fence (Not a good one to hit) not cool at all. Time for a nap!” On its Tweets page NBC has posted links to athletes’ websites, videos and blogs and sends updates on the Games.
Athletes’ blogs are some of the most widely-read blogs out there and Olympians are no exception. Snowboarder Shaun White, skier Bryon Friedman and figure skater Johnny Weir write their own widely-trafficked blogs and keep their fans updated. Athletes often offer great insight into their usually private lives via blogs as well as Tweets and can often be humorous and witty (See Johnny Weir’s Tweet: “Going to the opening of my movie at IFC theatre tonight. Come! Then going to see Gaga. Exciting day! “Show me your teeth.’
NBC’s blog page is full of great reads on athletes- bios, features, results- and mobile alerts are available for your phone. Blackberry and iphone applications will be available soon via NBCOlympics.com where users can receive live results, video and news. Also coming soon, NBC will feature mobile tv, providing 24/7 programming of Olympics broadcasts directly from your web-enabled phone, for a cost of course.
For those yearning for something a little more in-your-face from their Olympics viewing, Panasonic and ESPN have teamed up to offer high-definition 3D coverage. Panasonic announced that it has signed up the Olympic Speedskating team and will broadcast the action from Vancouver via “truly immersive, blur-free images.”
With so many ways to track the events this winter, it shouldn’t be too hard to catch that blistering slalom run or huge snowboarding air if you can’t watch it live. And if you’re planning on tracking athletes’ blogs and Tweets during the Games, you may discover something you can’t see on TV.
So, are you going to follow?