Olympic Channel (American TV channel)
|Launched||July 31, 2003|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV |
|Slogan||Home of Team USA|
|Headquarters||New York City, New York |
Colorado Springs, Colorado
NBC Sports Regional Networks
|Dish Network||Channel 389|
|Altice USA||Channel 225|
|Available on some cable systems||Channel slots vary on each provider|
|Verizon FIOS||Channel 91 (SD)|
Channel 591 (HD)
|Internet Protocol television|
Olympic Channel (branded as Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA) is an American pay television sports channel owned by the NBC Olympics division of NBC Sports and the United States Olympic Committee. It is dedicated to Olympic sports, and is a franchise of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Olympic Channel operation.
The network was founded in 2003 as Bravo HD+, which aired programs from the fellow NBC Universal network Bravo that had been produced in high definition. In 2004, the network was re-branded as Universal HD, serving as an outlet for HD broadcasts of programming from NBCUniversal channels, and library films. Universal HD rebranded to the Olympic Channel on July 15, 2017.
As Bravo HD+/Universal HD
The channel was launched on July 31, 2003 as Bravo HD+, serving as a high-definition companion service to Bravo. On December 1, 2004, the network was rebranded as Universal HD, shifting its focus towards library content, particularly from Universal Pictures and other NBC Universal channels.
As Olympic Channel
In June 2017, NBCUniversal announced that Universal HD would be replaced by Olympic Channel on July 15, 2017. The move came in response to changing market conditions in the U.S. television industry, including the growth of "skinny" over-the-top linear television services delivered over the internet, and an overall decline in "niche" channels that originate little to no original programming.
The U.S. version of Olympic Channel is a franchise of the IOC's Olympic Channel network operated in conjunction with NBC Sports and the United States Olympic Committee. The channel carries coverage of competitions in Olympic sports that take place outside of the Olympic Games (such as world championships), and other programming focusing on Olympic athletes. It draws from programming commissioned for the international version of Olympic Channel, original programming produced by the USOC, and the archives of NBC.
The USOC had announced preliminary plans in July 2009 to launch an Olympic sports-oriented channel with Comcast, who would go onto announce its intent to acquire NBC Universal later that year. The joint venture was folded in April 2010, with the planned acquisition of NBC (who ran its own Olympic sport-focused channel with InterMedia Partners, Universal Sports) having been cited as a potential distraction from the proposed channel (which was originally intended to launch following the 2010 Winter Olympics).
The rebranding occurred on the morning of July 15, 2017; its launch weekend programming included coverage of events in the 2017 World Aquatics Championships, the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships and the 2017 IAAF Diamond League. Besides Xfinity, providers who carried the channel at launch included Altice, AT&T U-verse, DirecTV, Dish Network, Spectrum, and Verizon Fios, along with Hulu's live TV service; NBC stated that it would be available in 35 million households when the rebranding occurs.
The network carried news and highlights during the 2018 Winter Olympics (with full event coverage delegated to other NBCUniversal networks), including the Jimmy Roberts-hosted studio program Winter Olympics Daily, the daily medals ceremony, and the Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) produduction Olympic Channel News. The network participated in NBCSN's event coverage of the 2018 Winter Paralympics.
Most of the programs broadcast by Universal HD were first aired by one of NBCUniversal's pay-TV networks, including Bravo, USA Network, Syfy and Chiller before their HD simulcast networks were launched. In its early years, it carried sports coverage from USA in the HD format, including its rights to The Masters, tennis's US Open, and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Early in the high-definition era it also acquired rights to short-run early-to-mid 2000s network series such as CBS's Clubhouse and UPN's Sex, Love & Secrets to fill out its schedule.
In July 2007, the network announced a partnership with then-sister network Sundance Channel to carry a weekly block of their content from August 1 to December 26, 2007, which was sponsored by Microsoft. It also, as part of a consortium of other NBC Universal networks and Sundance Channel, broadcast the entirety of the 2007 Live Earth concerts in high definition.
In November 2015, Universal Sports, a sports channel owned by InterMedia Partners with a minority stake held by NBC, ceased operations. NBC Sports acquired the rights to the content that was previously held by the channel, which consisted primarily of competitions in Olympic sports, and dispersed across Universal HD, NBCSN, and NBC Sports Live Extra. It also carried tape-delayed repeats of WWE's weekly series, including Raw and SmackDown, which aired back-to-back on Saturday evenings. It also carried repeats of NBC's package of Notre Dame football home games before the conversion of the former OLN/Versus to NBCSN.
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