The Social Olympics

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Approximately 4 billion people will watch the opening ceremony of the games of the 30th Olympiad, in London from 27 July to 12 August. The city of London is expecting 14,000 athletes, thousands of media representatives, and several million sport fans.

It will put a huge strain on London’s wireless networks, as well the internet. Each venue is now live-streaming.

In addition, social media has become a global force. As a consequence, broadcast television and social media have developed new partnerships since the 2008 Summer Olympics. Paul Kapustka’s Mobile Sports Report covers the growing intersection of sports, mobile technology and social media.

In 2008, Facebook had 100 million users; now, its around 900 million. Twitter was still a startup, and YouTube had just launched its mobile site.

On Wednesday, NBC’s Olympics division and Facebook, announced a collaboration. Facebook and NBC Olympics executives said the arrangement was not an advertising deal, and indicated that no money was changing hands, reports the NY Times. Users of Facebook will be reminded about NBC’s coverage of the Olympic Games in London. And viewers of NBC’s coverage, will be encouraged to talk about the Games on Facebook.

NBC will also make use of Facebook’s Talk Meter, which reveals what Olympic events or athletes are being talked about online.

Earlier this week, Facebook announced a partnership with CNN for its coverage of the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

The digital marketing agency iProspect recently looked at the growth of social between the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2012 Olympic Games.

Smartphone use hadn’t truly taken off back then, and the iPad didn’t exist. The increase in mobile technology is sure to have a profound effect on how millions of viewers — and many athletes — experience the 2012 Games. Fans will be able to converse, debate and rave communally as never before because of mobile proliferation and the explosive growth of social media over the past four years.

Mashable has an Olympics Social Media Guide. Some of their favorite links:

There will be restrictions on athletes’ and spectators’ stadium photos. That’s necessary to protect broadcast rightsholders, says IOC social media head, Alex Huot (above).

The Olympic games were first broadcast on television in Rome in 1960. This year, 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.

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, which will carry some 3,000 hours of the network’s Olympic coverage.

Gigawave and Broadcast RF are providing HD wireless systems. NEP will supply technical services to NBC.

Venues inside the Olympic Park, around London and outside the city limits will be routed to London’s broadcast centre in the Olympic Park.

The London Media Centre will be a working facility for media during the London 2012 Games. The Guardian has a virtual tour of Olympic Park.

NBC, along with its cable channels and website, will broadcast 5,535 hours of the London games, notes the Wall Steet Journal, about 2,000 hours more than the Beijing games. Comcast, NBC’s parent, paid a record $4.4 billion to broadcast the Olympic Games from 2014 through 2020.

Cisco will help NBC deploy a single converged IP infrastructure for a wide range of services, from the video delivery to data-intensive logistics applications. Cisco’s Videoscape lets service providers bring together content from pay TV, online, and on-demand sources, then combine content with social media and mobility.

Today NBC and Adobe launched two apps, one, a live-streaming app will have more than 3,500 hours of content (called NBC Olympics Live Extra), which requires a cable subscription, and a companion app loaded with additional content like interviews, news stories, highlight videos and live results, (called the NBC Olympics app), which is free. You can also search Google Play and Apple’s App Store for more “olympic” apps.

NBC Olympics Live Extra features live streams from every sport on the London Olympic program. You will need to verify that you subscribe to a cable, satellite or telco video tier that includes CNBC and MSNBC. There is no additional charge. It’s also available on smartphones and tablets. You can also access the mobile website at

The London 2012 Olympics mobile apps and the BBC’s Olympics Mobile apps for Android and Apple provides up to 24 streams of live coverage, detailed schedule and results pages, and daily news stories. The global app does not contain live video streams, however.

The BBC is the sole rights holder for the Olympics in the UK and offers users live video from every venue. The live, interactive video player combines HD video with data streams, but it’s not available in the USA.

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.

BT’s Wi-Fi network for the Olympic Park has over 1000 access points across 9 different Olympic venues and across all of the public areas. It’s free for customers of BT broadband, O2 mobile services and Tesco Mobile. International visitors can buy 500 minutes over a 14-day period. It is said to be the largest high density Wi-Fi venue ever. BT already has 475,000 hotspots in Greater London located in both businesses and homes, as well as outdoor hotspots in the borough of Westminster.

London’s second largest private hire cab company, Greentomatocars, is offering free Wi-Fi in all of their vehicles.

LTE service in London is mostly in trial stage. UK Broadband recently switched on a TDD-LTE network in the London borough of Southwark. Initial services on the network will be fixed connectivity solutions. The network will use their 124MHz of spectrum in LTE bands 42 and 43 (3.5GHz and 3.6GHz). The company says Mobile Wi-Fi (Mi-Fi) devices will be available from September.

Small cell deployments in London use a lot of Ruckus 8800 access points, developed to integrate 3G/4G, Wi-Fi and backhaul into a single, lightweight, small-form factor.

The Technology Operations Centre (TOC) in Canary Wharf is mission control. The Commentator Information System provides commentators and journalists with touch-screen technology that gives results in real time.

A quarter of the London Olympic organizing committee’s overall budget of $3.1 billion has been spent on technology.

The Associated Press Olympics coverage plan includes medal counts on its AP Mobile apps, interactive presentations viewable on a number of devices, and tons of photos and video. A white-label, customizable Summer Games microsite, complete with embeddable widgets, is already available.

Gannett has put all of its sports coverage into a single “super vertical” — USA Today Sports Media Group. Ron Galbraith has news on Olympic photographers. Reuters Olympics London 2012 app delivers the best live Olympics photos (IOS only). Panasonic has a Facebook Flag Tag, which crops a transparent flag onto your face in pictures. is an app for IOS and Android that aggregates and maps social media at the Olympics. Geofedia has a website that has a similar function.

The Guardian has interactive features, including Second Screen — a live, visual dashboard for the computer or tablet that displays live blogs, results, pictures and tweets.

NBC has A Social Guide to the 2012 Summer Games with dozens of twitter hash tags. The IOC’s social hub has accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, and Flickr.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Reuter’s Robot Olympic Cameras, HTC: Olympic Torchbearer, London Olympics: 100 Days, NBC Partners with YouTube for Olympics, The 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Mobile Olympics: Better Than Anything, Producing Olympic Multi-Media, Social Olympics, 2008 Summer Olympics and 2006 Olympics Unwired, 2004 Olympics, and 2004 Olympic News Feed

Posted by Sam Churchill on Thursday, July 12th, 2012 at 7:28 am .

Leave a Reply