NEW YORK – 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.