With the big games just a few, short weeks away, the online buzz has been growing about how this Olympics will be watched and talked about in a much different fashion than any previous sporting event ever.
Facebook announced an official partnership with Facebook to create a social media-rich experience for the Games.
Roughly a month ago, the official Olympic Facebook launched in order to let Olympians share photos of their journey and chat with fans and athlete profiles. Essentially everything that a Facebook page is designed to do. One thing that does separate this Facebook fan page from the rest out there is that Facebook revealed that it would carry no advertising around any of its official Olympics pages.
Facebook’s Olympic page features some 200+ athletes’ profiles (a sliver of the 10,500 expected to compete), including British hopefuls Jessica Ennis and Tom Daley, dedicated pages to specific sports and a complete timeline history of the competition since the 1800s.
NBC Olympics and Facebook will work together to produce social media segments to air during television broadcasts across various NBC Universal networks and implement a data tool called the "Talk Meter" to inform its viewers about the stories, results, athletes, and events that are appearing on the social network.
“NBC is committed to engaging fans and consumers on every platform,” NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel said in a statement. “Social media is an important part of how fans consume and interact during the Olympics. We are thrilled to be collaborating with Facebook to serve fans as they watch and celebrate the London Olympic Games.”
The partnership also extends to the NBCOlympics.com site, which now features a Facebook Timeline application for more widespread distribution of content. The Timeline application, once enabled, allows users to automatically share their viewing and reading behaviors on the site with their friends on Facebook.
Both companies have stated that no money has exchanged hands in this partnership but will allow both businesses to better advertise across platforms and leverage better deals with marketing and advertising opportunities.
The NBC deal with Facebook is different than Facebook’s deal with BBC, which goes several steps further, by allowing people to view BBC live coverage right from Facebook rather than just connecting it will supplemental information.
Considering that during the Beijing Olympics, Facebook had a mere 100 million users and there are now more than 900 million people on the site, there is sure to be serious global Facebook buzz around the Games.
The LOCOG arrangement with Facebook is not exclusive, as the organization is working to enhance and launch dedicated Olympic Twitter and Google+ pages and announced a partnership last month with Foursquare.
The committee is also building Tumblr and Instagram pages and, in China, it is working with Sina Weibo and Youku.
A lot of Olympic firsts
With the 2012 London Olympics starting on July 27, it is also worth noting that NBC will live stream the Games for the first time ever.
Users can see any event on NBCOlympics.com, or one of two mobile apps, without having it tape delayed. In all, 3,500 hours will be streamed on the site.
And perhaps the biggest innovation of all this year will be the partnership between Panasonic and NBC that will allow the Olympic games to be broadcast in 3D to all cable, satellite and telco subscribers.
NBC will be airing 5.535 hours of Olympic coverage in total, equal to 231 days. Over the 19 days of actual games, that is an average of 291 hours per day. This also includes two days of soccer coverage that will occur before the actual games begin.
The total hours of Olympic coverage is twice the amount of every single previous summer Olympics combined. NBC’s flagship channel will be airing 272.5 hours of coverage, the most ever.
In 2008, the Beijing Olympics had 225 hours of coverage, nearly 50 hours less.
The opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics brought in 34.9 million viewers. Those are not numbers NBC can afford to turn down.