NBCUniversal will be shutting down the Olympic Channel on September 30. This is the second leg of NBC’s Olympic sports coverage networks that will be shut down within a year, after NBC Sports closed at the end of 2021.
NBC Sports and the Olympic Channel have been home to most swimming coverage in the United States over the last five years. That includes the most recent World Championships, which drew low ratings last week.
The channel is a franchise of the IOC’s Olympic Channel Network that is operated in the US by a partnership between NBC Sports and the USOPC.
The Olympic Channel launched in more than 35 million homes in 2017, which was just over a quarter of the American market. Current figures for the network’s reach was not available.
“In order to best reach our target audiences, we are reevaluating our programming distribution strategy regarding the content that currently airs on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA with our partners at the IOC and USOPC,” an NBC spokesperson said in a statement. “We will be announcing our exciting new plans for Olympic content in the fall.”
NBC has re-evaluated its network of sports channels in several ways in the last year. In June 2022, they began a Direct to Consumer service for its regional sports networks.
After the shutdown of the NBC Sports Network, which in addition to Olympic coverage aired English Premier League Soccer matches, some content moved to USA Network, while other content moved to NBC’s streaming service Peacock. Peacock simulcast the recent World Championships, and is a likely destination for future swimming competitions in the US.
In 2014, NBC outbid Fox and ESPN for rights to the Olympic Games from 2022 through 2032, paying $7.75 billion.