With 100 days left before the Olympic Games in London, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has launched an online athletes’ headquarters designed to serve as a social media platform enhancing the digital connection between fans and competitors.
The Olympic Athletes’ Hub aggregates the social media feeds of more than 1,000 current and former Olympians. It will post content directly from their Facebook and Twitter accounts and incorporate a gamification layer so fans can interact with the site. Users will be able to access exclusive training-tips videos and gain virtual and real-world prizes according to how many athletes they like and follow online.
The organizers of this year’s games are calling 2012 the first year the games have been truly social. But athletes will not be allowed to tweet photos of themselves with products that aren’t official Olympics sponsors or share photos or videos from inside the athletes’ village. Fans, too, could be barred from sharing on Facebook and YouTube photos and videos of themselves enjoying the action.
The Olympic games were first broadcast on television in Rome in 1960. This year, NBCOlympics.com announced it is reversing an earlier policy and will stream live all 32 sports at the Olympic Games in London, The New York Times reports.
“If cameras are on it, we’ll stream it,” said Rick Cordella, vice president and general manager of NBC Sports Digital Media.
Two years ago, at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, only hockey and curling were streamed live in order to protect prime time. At the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, 25 sports were streamed live but none of them were important to the evening broadcast, which is usually at least four hours long.
The London 2012 Olympics are going 3D in the UK — or a few parts of it at least. The BBC has announced that fans will be able to watch the opening ceremony, closing ceremony, men’s 100m final and daily highlights in 3D. The Beeb’s main standard-definition transmission will be on BBC One, the HD simulcast will be on BBC One HD and the 3D version will be on the BBC HD Channel.
Security has been the major issue facing the Olympics after four suicide bombers killed 52 people on three packed underground trains and a bus the day after London was awarded the Games on July 6, 2005.
“Terrorism is a threat for any major western country,” London Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson told a news conference in Kew Gardens to mark the 100-day countdown. “It is now and it always has been.
NBC is dispatching about 1,500 people to the U.K. They’ll be working in 65,000 square feet of space inside the International Broadcast Centre, plus various event and non-event venues in and around London. Live video will be transmitted between New York and London using a mix of satellites and four OC-48 (2.488 Gbps) fiber links provided by AT&T. NBC has also signed a deal with YouTube for it to provide the video player on NBCOlympics.com, which will carry some 3,000 hours of the network’s Olympic coverage.