NBC Sports Brings Olympics-Production Sensibility to World Athletics Championships Oregon22 Coverage
43 hours of TV coverage included primetime broadcasts on four weekend nights
NBC Sports Group wrapped up its historic coverage of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 over the weekend, marking the first time the outdoor World Championships were held in the U.S. NBC Sports, which delivered 43 hours of TV coverage (including four nights of live primetime weekend telecasts on NBC) across its networks, supplemented the world feed with plenty of its own production firepower both onsite in Eugene, OR, and at its broadcast center in Stamford, CT.
With decades of Olympic Games experience, the NBC Sports production team deployed an Olympics-style operation for the 10-day meet at the University of Oregon. With 2,000 athletes representing more than 200 nations competing at Hayward Field (one of the most renowned track and field venues on the planet), NBC live-streamed all competition sessions on Peacock (65+ hours in all) to go along with linear coverage on NBC, USA, and CNBC.
According to NBC Sports Senior Producer Steve Greenberg, who led the Oregon22 effort, NBC used seven unilateral cameras to supplement the world feed (which was produced by ITN Productions). NBC’s star-studded roster of on-air talent was onsite calling the action, while the production team largely worked from Stamford. NBC established 10 JPEG2000 transport paths to connect its operations in Eugene and Stamford. Four LiveU LU800 field production units enabled the NBC production team to cover each individual field event.
NBC provided 25 World Athletics Splits to help document event coverage along with behind-the-scenes footage of athlete arrivals and warm-ups.
NBC Sports’ extensive production efforts paid off, as Oregon22 was the most-watched World Track & Field Championships on record (since 1988) with 18.7 million total viewers tuning across NBC Sports platforms for the 10-day event. The 18.7 million total viewers surpass NBC Sports’ previous record for the event by 65% (London 2017, 11.3 million).
On the final night of competition on Sunday, July 24, NBC averaged 2.362 million TV-only viewers (9:00-11:06 p.m. ET/PT), making it the network’s most-watched track & field program in 26 years, excluding Olympics and U.S. Team Trials. Viewership peaked at 3.2 million viewers at the end of the competition night. It was also the second-most watched sports program of the weekend.
“Oregon22 was an unprecedented opportunity to engage with passionate American track & field fans and make new ones,” says Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics & Paralympics. “The U.S. Track & Field team, fueled by an electric, live crowd at iconic Hayward Field, delivered on that opportunity and then some, with a dominant performance across multiple events on the track and in the field that sets the stage for a record-setting Paris 2024 Olympics.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated on 7/27 to include final viewership numbers.