The network, announced Thursday, will be called the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, and will feature Olympic sporting events and programming from around the world with an emphasis on U.S. athletes and teams.
NBCUniversal is looking to the network as a way to promote and build interest in the Games and the athletes in the two years between each Olympics.
"From a production and programming standpoint, it's tremendous to have the real estate to spread the gospel outside of two weeks every two years," said Jim Bell, executive producer of NBC's Olympics coverage.
NBCUniversal is calling the network a “partnership” with the
The Olympic Channel will be carried by AT&T and
"We are confident that given the vast interest in the Olympics and the rich content made available that distributors will embrace this opportunity," said Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics.
The Olympic Channel will only be available to cable and satellite customers and not as a standalone service for streaming video users. Some of the content on the channel will be available on other streaming platforms such as NBCSports.com.
NBCUniversal has invested $12 billion in the U.S. television rights to the Olympic Games through 2032. The Summer Games in
But the audiences for the Games were still far bigger than what a vast majority of all other TV programs now get. Even with the lower-than-anticipated ratings, NBCUniversal executives said they made a $250-million profit on the Games this past summer due to strong advertiser demand for the telecasts.
The Olympic Channel will not program any Olympic coverage during the the weeks the Games are held. NBCUniversal airs the Games on its broadcast networks and over a number of its a cable channels including NBC Sports Network.
Official sponsors of the Olympic Games coverage will get first crack at the advertising on the Olympic Channel. But sporting events that have existing sponsors will also have the opportunity to buy commercials on the network.