NEW YORK – Skating means ratings — and that's why figure skating will dominate TV coverage of the 2002 Winter Olympics.
NBC revealed its extensive broadcast schedule for the Winter Games yesterday, and it's top heavy with crowd-pleasing figure-skating contests.
The 375 hours of coverage will be divided among NBC's three networks: NBC-TV and cable outlets MSNBC and CNBC.
But NBC, the network that reaches the most viewers, will air all the figure-skating events.
They grab huge ratings, thanks to the high drama and the competitors' sexy, stylish routines.
The Winter Games will be the biggest international sporting event since the Sept. 11 terror attacks — a fact not lost on NBC.
"There is incredibly heightened interest in these Games . . . the Olympics offer the possibility of all the world coming together as one," NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said.
Coverage starts Feb. 8 on NBC, with the opening ceremonies from Salt Lake City and a ski-jumping event. It ends Feb. 24 with figure-skating, skiing, bobsledding and the closing ceremonies.
In between, NBC will air speed skating, pairs figure skating, the freestyle ski-moguls final and cross-country skiing.
MSNBC's events include women's and men's biathlon, cross-county skiing, hockey and curling.
CNBC will focus on live hockey competition, 76 hours over 14 days.