NEW YORK - Olympics fans hoping that a Games in the Americas would persuade NBC to finally broadcast the Opening Ceremony live have been left disappointed again.
Even though Rio de Janeiro's time zone is just one hour ahead of the East Coast of the United States, the much-watched spectacle will be televised and streamed online on a delayed basis starting at 8 p.m. Eastern. The event will actually start at 7 p.m. Eastern, which is 8 p.m. in Rio.
To make matters worse, broadcasts in western regions will have staggered start times. Coverage in the Mountain time zone starts at 7 p.m. local (9 p.m. Eastern), and coverage in the Pacific time zone starts at 8 p.m. local (11 p.m. Eastern). Coverage in the Central time zone starts at 7 p.m. local, the same hour as the Eastern time broadcast window.
Executives from the network were peppered with questions about the decision at an Olympics preview press event NBC held Monday afternoon at the network's Rockefeller Center headquarters. They were all well-prepared for the onslaught.
Indeed, NBC's own people brought the subject up first. During the formal presentation part of the event, Michele Tafoya - the Sunday Night Football sideline reporter who will report on swimming events in Rio - put the question directly to NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus on stage.
"A lot of people want to know, are you going to stream live the opening ceremony?" Tafoya asked.
"Who's been asking that?" Lazarus feigned.
"Uh, my kids," Tafoya replied.
Well, Tafoya's kids are going to be disappointed when they hear the news.
Here's what Lazarus and his fellow NBC executives had to say about what went into the decision.
Mark Lazarus, NBC Sports Group chairman
[I responded that the public would, for better or worse, probably suggest cutting out some countries they didn't know anything about.]
Jim Bell, NBC Olympics executive producer (who made the official decision to not broadcast the event live)
Gary Zenkel, NBC Olympics president
John Miller, NBC Olympics chief marketing officer
[Aside: You might disagree with that. I might disagree with that. NBC has said it for years, and has long claimed to have stacks of market research to prove it.]
Rick Cordella, senior vice president and general manager of NBC Sports Digital
This story has been corrected. A quote that was originally attributed to Jim Bell was actually said by John Miller.