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Tokyo Olympics schedule reveals prime-time TV boon for marquee sports

Tokyo Olympics schedule reveals prime-time TV boon for marquee sports
A man surfs in front of Japan's Mt. Fuji on April 5. Surfing will be among the events featured in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. (Kimimasa Mayama / EPA/Shutterstock)

In a boon to American television viewers — and broadcasters — the 2020 Summer Olympics have arranged gold-medal events in several marquee sports to coincide with prime time in the U.S.

The schedule that Tokyo organizers released Tuesday lists swimming, track and beach volleyball finals beginning well before noon in Tokyo, which runs 16 hours ahead of Pacific Time.

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By comparison, gymnastics, soccer and other sports will stick to traditional afternoon and evening start times.

The early schedules shouldn’t be surprising because NBCUniversal ranks as the 800-pound gorilla in Olympic broadcasting, paying more than $7.5 billion for rights to the Summer and Winter Games through 2032.

With the Olympics set to run from July 24 through Aug. 9, organizers have also included two “Super Saturdays” and a “Golden Sunday” packed with medal events running back-to-back.

The Saturday before the Aug. 9 closing ceremony will feature 30 finals, including championship games in men’s basketball, soccer and baseball.

Elsewhere on the schedule, the men’s and women’s marathon will start at 6 a.m. to avoid potentially hot temperatures later in the day. Organizers have given themselves more than a week to hold four days of surfing competition, depending on wave conditions.

Boxing has been included, but only on a provisional basis while the International Olympic Committee conducts an inquiry into the sport’s scandal-plagued international federation. The IOC could decide to drop the sport or continue without the federation’s involvement.

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