Why you should care
Because 300 hours of live coverage — more than ever before — are coming your way with these games.
All those feel-good moments we’re going to enjoy in February are far from cheap. $50,000,000,000 — the current estimated price tag for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, a figure that will make these the most expensive Games ever. Remember when everyone thought we had hit peak Olympic spending with Beijing?
This winter, the games go on steroids: Olympic programmers have added new iterations of nontraditional ski and snowboard events like halfpipe and snowboard cross, staples from the X-Games, ESPN’s action sports fest. “Extreme” athletes like Shaun White have crossed over to the Olympic Games, winning gold medals and becoming household names.
The Sochi Olympics will have 12 new events, including freestyle skiing halfpipe, freestyle skiing slopestyle and snowboarding slopestyle. Some are more traditional – like team figure skating and team luge, but come February, you’ll be seeing a lot more skiers and snowboarders soaring through the air, showing off some next-level jumps, twists and tricks.
Yeah, no one ever knows what curling is – but Ron Burgundy checked it out, so you should too. Curling is a top contender for the most accessible sport in the Olympics, full of people you could easily picture having beers with you or teaching you how to play their sport. But plenty of Americans can envision themselves curling, and they have taken up the sport, fueled by plentiful broadcasts on NBC’s networks with every Olympics. This year, NBC will once again spread many hours of curling coverage across CNBC, MSNBC and USA. The challenge for USA Curling is to convert that quadrennial boom of viewers and players into a lasting presence — and top-flight national teams.