NBC will live stream the entire 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, marking the first time that fans will have a chance to watch every Winter Olympic event live, the network announced Tuesday. NBC will employ the same plan used in London, when it streamed the entire Olympics and compiled the best events of each day for a nightly primetime package on television.
However, just because every event will be available live, that doesn't mean they will all be live on television. Sochi is nine hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time, and like it did in London, some premier events will specifically not be aired live on TV so they can be a part of the nightly primetime block. However, the network said all U.S. hockey will be televised live.
The biggest issue related to the men's hockey tournament in Sochi is whether or not NHL players will be participating. The NHL has taken a midseason break during the last three Winter Olympics to allow its players to compete, but the league has not yet announced its plans for next season. Normally, it would be a no-brainer to allow players to compete in the Olympics, but the league may be hesitant to take an extended break during the season just one year removed from a lengthy lockout. Still, it seems as if the backlash to holding the players back would be far worse than taking a couple of weeks off.
While NBC and the NHL could receive flak for some of their Olympic-related decisions, the International Olympic Committee is already having to squash a small controversy. Reports out of Russia have stated that the IOC requested Sochi to change its time zone and fall back one hour during the games, supposedly to benefit broadcasters. The IOC, meanwhile, has denied the allegation, stating it simply gave its opinion on the matter and did not actually file a request.