IOC Set To Launch 24/7 Olympics Channel

For an organization known more recently for its spotty human rights record than forward thinking, the IOC surprised many last week, including its own president, Thomas Bach, when they adopted the 40-point “Olympic Agenda 2020” program proposed by the IOC president.

Included in the series of reforms is a plan to develop an over-the-top digital TV channel to begin broadcasting as early as 2015. The AP reported that the channel will cost around $600 million to create, with the hope that the IOC would recoup their investment after 10 years. The channel’s programming won’t interfere with the Universal Sports Network in the US, which already provides round-the-clock coverage of the Olympic games, including live events, to more than 60 million cable subscribers. Said to be based on the National Geographic Channel model, the channel will broadcast from the archives of past Olympic games, as well as provide Olympic news and other non-Olympic sporting events.

It remains to be seen how much interest there will be for the channel, given that the network will be unable to broadcast live events due to previous agreements with networks like NBC. Recent sports networks like NBA TV, the NFL Network, and the Pac-12 Network have all started with the archives and news format, but included live broadcasts to draw in initial viewers. There is also a concern that a 24-7 Olympics network will lessen the novelty for games that are held once every four years. But for an organization that has been much maligned recently, the new channel is a worthwhile bet to recapture some of its lost relevance, especially with a younger audience that is accustomed to this type of programming.

(Header image via adrian8_8)

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Michael Tunney is a managing editor at Contently. He has also worked on marketing campaigns for bestselling authors like Robert Greene, Ryan Holiday, and James Altucher. Follow him on Twitter @mike_tunney.

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