Winter Olympic Announcers Will Be Calling Action From Connecticut
The athletes will be there, the officials will be there, but the announcers that call all the action won't be.
Once again, just like the 2020 Summer games in Japan, there is a major concern about the pandemic. The only difference this time is back in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was not ragging around the globe as bad as it is now. The Omicron variant has caused NBC, who will broadcast the entire Olympics, to re-think their strategy about sending their crews to cover the games in person.
So according to usatoday.com, NBC Sports has announced that it will not be sending any of its announcing teams to the games in Beijing. Up until this week, NBC had plans to send a handful of announcers to the games to call certain sports like figure skating, Alpine skiing and snowboarding, but those plans were scrapped on Wednesday, (January 19) as the network made a decision based on the safety of their employees.
That decision doesn't mean that announcers will not be calling any of the action, they will be, but they will be doing it from their facility in Stamford, Connecticut.
An NBC Sports spokesperson said they will have a large presence in Beijing, and they are expecting their coverage to be "first rate", but due to the spread of the latest COVID-19 variant they are not taking any chances.
This model of having all their coverage originate from their Stamford Headquarters is not something they have never done before. In Tokyo during the summer games in July and August of 2021, many of the events were called from Connecticut, but the only difference this time is that all on air talent will work out of the Stamford studio. The only exception is the network's Olympic host Mike Tirico, who will be in China for the opening games, but he's also assigned to cover the Super Bowl on February 13, so he will be leaving the Olympics early.
Not being live in person at a sporting event is not an uncommon protocol for sports announcers. Since the start of the pandemic many baseball announcing teams have been calling games from their empty home ballparks when their team is away playing on the road.