NBC to stream closing ceremony live

NBC acknowledged some critics Saturday in announcing it changed

plans and will stream Sunday’s Olympic closing ceremony live

online.

Sunday’s ceremony from London will still air on a tape-delayed

basis on NBC in prime time. For the opening ceremony, NBC took some

heat for not making the event available to anyone in the United

States for hours after the fact.

The opening ceremony was watched by 40.7 million people, a

bigger audience than for the Grammys and Oscars this year. NBC has

since found that streaming live all of the Olympic sports events

online has not cut into its prime-time audience, which has been

unexpectedly bigger than the 2008 Beijing Games.

”Going into the opening ceremony, we didn’t have a sense for

what our ratings would be and what streaming would or wouldn’t do

to our broadcasts,” said NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus. ”But

we think we’ve learned enough and have promised to innovate and

continually evolve our broadcast coverage.”

NBC stressed that Sunday’s stream was an experiment and doesn’t

necessarily mean the same policy would hold true for the 2014

Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The stream is available to cable and

satellite customers who go to the NBCOlympics.com website.

Sunday’s ceremony has been described as a music-filled

after-party that will feature the Spice Girls, The Who, George

Michael, Muse and others in a show that will include performances

of some 30 British hit singles over five decades.

Bob Costas, Al Michaels and Ryan Seacrest will host the

ceremony, NBC said.