Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone, and thanks for joining us for today’s call. These are obviously historic times in our world with the ongoing pandemic, which has also made for historic times in the sports media space for NBC Sports and our entire company.
Our topics today are NBC and Peacock’s Winter Olympics coverage as well as their Super Bowl 56 coverage coming up this Sunday right in the heart of these Olympics. Reminder that the Super Bowl will also be on Telemundo for the first time.
Mike Tirico is doing something that’s never been done, and likely won’t ever be duplicated, hosting the primetime Olympics from Beijing for several nights, now hosting in our Stamford IBC for a couple nights, and then on to LA tomorrow to host both the Olympics and Super Bowl pregame show, which begins at 1:00 p.m. eastern time on Sunday.
Mike will return to Stamford on Monday to host week 2 of the Olympics, FYI. We’re joined today by Mike, as well as our NBC Olympics executive producer Molly Solomon, and by NBC Sports chairman Pete Bevacqua.
PETE BEVACQUA: Thanks, everybody, for joining us today. Greg, as you said, it’s certainly an exciting time for us and an unprecedented time, when you think about the fact that we’re in the midst of the Beijing Olympics with the Super Bowl right on the horizon, and the fact that we have the power of the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl at the same time.
It is an absolute honor for all of us at NBC Sports and NBC. As I’ve said to the team repeatedly, if we can’t get excited and revved up about this, we’re certainly in the wrong business.
It’s been a busy time for sure. It feels like it was yesterday we were in Tokyo for the summer Games, and with only a six-month break, to come right into Beijing. I was recently in Beijing, I spent about 10 days there with Mike, and thinking about all the preparation that has gone into these Games, to have had two Olympics in six months with the necessary COVID protocols, everything to bring these Games to life during a global pandemic, it has certainly been a difficult environment to pull these Games off.
When you think about the beauty of the Olympic Games, the Olympic ideal, I really applaud the IOC for bringing these Games to life. Gary Zenkel, who’s the president of our Olympic team and I had dinner with Thomas Bach in Beijing a few nights ago, and we really congratulated him for pulling this off.
For us it’s been difficult. There’s no way around this. To bring these Games to life with all of the different hurdles that have come our way has been a challenge, but we a certainly have the right quarterback in Molly Solomon who you’re going to hear from shortly, and the job that Mike Tirico has done in Tokyo, now in Beijing, soon with the Super Bowl in LA, is really impressive to say the least, and I think he’s at the top of his game.
To go back to the idea that we have these Games and that we have the power of the Super Bowl, certainly there have been some challenges that have come with that, people working hard, people working overtime. But without a doubt, the positives and the benefits of that far outweigh the challenges, from a marketing perspective, from a sales perspective, — I believe that rising tides lift all ships. The Super Bowl is going to help the Olympics; the Olympics are going to help the Super Bowl; and I think all of this will coalesce on Sunday while we’re calling Super Bowl Sunday.
The fact that you can wake up on Sunday and have wonderful Olympic coverage for hours before the Super Bowl and then we move into Mike and the pregame, and obviously our Super Bowl coverage right through handing out of the Lombardi Trophy and then going immediately back to live Olympic Games coverage, if that’s not a powerful combination of bringing the beauty of sports.
Clearly the two biggest events in sports when you think about the Olympic Games and the Super Bowl, and the fact that they’re coming together is important for us, and it’s part of our strategy. It’s no secret when we were talking to the NFL about renewing our Sunday Night Football agreement it was important that we could have our Super Bowl years during our winter Olympic years, and we’re seeing success from that this year as we head towards the Super Bowl.
And we think the Super Bowl is going to provide an unbelievable powerful platform, to have that 100 million plus audience where we can obviously cover the game and every aspect of what’s been a wonderful NFL season, but also promote the Olympics and promote week 2 of these Beijing Games.
We’ve been really pleased with everything so far, despite the difficult challenges that we’ve faced during these Games, and I think we’re set up for a wonderful end of this week, a wonderful weekend, and then hopefully a great week 2 of Beijing.
But nobody can talk more thoroughly about what has gone into these Games than our very own Molly Solomon. Molly, take it away.
MOLLY SOLOMON: Thank you, Pete. It’s so fun to have this phone call today because it’s on the heels of a really exhilarating, uplifting 36 hours in the control room with the gold medal performances of Lindsey Jacobellis, Chloe Kim, and Nathan Chen, such an Olympic story of personal resolve and commitment.
And tonight Shaun White takes his final run in a legendary career live in primetime. And if you haven’t heard, Mikaela Shiffrin is going to race the Super G. So we’re going to have that immediately following the halfpipe at 10:00 p.m. Such an incredible lineup tonight.
Looking back nearly a week into these Games, I really believe we’ve met the challenges of, as what’s Pete called a truly unprecedented Beijing Games, in every way we can.
We’ve kept our commitment to produce storylines that document all of the triumphs and setbacks of Team USA and other key aspects of the game, and we did not shy away from our responsibility to place these Games in the proper geopolitical context as evidenced by our strong analysis during the opening ceremonies.
We did that without diminishing the athletes’ moments and the spectacle of that beautiful ceremony. For today, it’s incredibly easy for me to share with you how proud we are of the presentation thus far. There have been some fierce headwinds for these Olympics, but it’s really only inspired our NBC Olympic team, and we can’t wait for these Games and this work to continue.
For context, I wanted to put together some numbers to share with you so you can better understand our efforts. We have 1,600 people working here in Stamford, and our NBC Sports headquarters — it feels a lot like an International Broadcast Center in an Olympic city. With the Olympic city of Beijing being 13 hours ahead, day is night here and night is day here. We also have 600 teammates based in Beijing. Production, engineering and operations, and many of those people are taking on multiple jobs, playing out of position to help us pull off these 2,800 hours of competition.
And our reporters frankly have taken on even more responsibility because they are our eyes and ears for our production, and many of them are doing double duty.
The complexity of what we’re doing is also kind of mindboggling as we toggle back and forth across 6,800 miles.
Here are some stats for you: we have 203 HD feeds coming from China to our NBC Sports headquarters, and we’ve got 101 feeds going back to our IBC and our venues in China.
How about this one: the figure skating announcers and pictures travel under the Pacific Ocean three times in order to get on the air, so that’s 20,000 miles in seven tenths of a second. An extraordinary job by our engineering and operations team.
And somehow we also got Mike Tirico to Beijing and back, and he was on the air stateside last night. As Pete said, he’s primed for an unprecedented Olympic-Super Bowl double.
A week into the coverage, some production headlines from me: we’ve had several standout new analysts, including a trio of Olympic champs. I don’t know if you’ve heard Hannah Kearney on moguls, but you can catch her tonight in Prime Plus. She’ll be calling the team aerials competition.
Ted Ligety has been excellent on alpine skiing, and Kelly Clark, an Olympic champ, is joining us for snowboarding big air.
They’ve all been incredibly entertaining and instructive. That really is one of my favorite parts of producing the Olympics, is watching these new analysts emerge. They’re champions in their sports, but then they become really good broadcasters over the course of the Games.
There’s some names you might now know. Katherine Adamek has been excellent on short track and replays and explaining that crazy sport.
Tom Wallisch has been a breath of fresh air on freestyle big air.
And finally, my favorite part is waking up each morning, whenever that is, to coffee and curling. I just love listening to Kenny Rice and Tyler George.
So everything is really, really coming together, and I just so admire and respect this production team.
And finally, I wanted to also call out what’s new and improved in our coverage, which is pretty extraordinary when you consider, as we talked about, the headwinds with COVID.
We have the most production technology we’ve ever had in a Winter Olympics, and I think it’s really helping the viewers better understand these sports that they don’t know so much about. If you watched the halfpipe last night we had the jump height meter, and that actually is coming from Germany into our Beijing truck real time.
There’s a speedometer on alpine skiing for the speed events. And if you watched Nathan Chen last night, we’ve added four super slo-mo cameras, one in each of the corners in figure skating to really help you to better understand these incredible quadruple jumps that both the men and the women are performing.
Now we get to look forward to the middle weekend of the Olympics and Super Bowl Sunday, and we will, as Pete said, throw from the Lombardi Trophy presentation back to Beijing for two live gold medals.
We’re ready, and I think Mike Tirico is ready. Have you had any coffee? How are you doing there?
MIKE TIRICO: I am great. I was thinking this morning as I was taking a walk to get coffee about two years ago, and I was in this building where we are now, our NBC Sports headquarters, and Molly and my other boss in terms of production here at NBC, Sam Flood, both presented me with a piece of paper with a plan to work both projects that I’m lucky enough to be the host of — our NFL coverage and our Olympic coverage — and how to pull this off in the same weekend in two different continents.
It sounded really cool. Like, okay, well, I’ll put that in the back of my mind for a while. As it gets closer and closer, we’ve had the pandemic and other issues come in between, but still we are finding a way to do it, and I am eternally grateful to everybody involved to help make this happen.
Here we are, and I could not be more thrilled and more excited about it. When you do this job as a TV sports host, it’s a blessing to work at the network level, and without question the Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event in America. Without question the Olympics are the biggest sporting event in the world.
If you do what we do, what I get the honor of doing, the chance to do both once in a career is beyond belief and beyond dreams, and the chance to do both in the same weekend, let alone the same day, is beyond words.
I am thrilled, excited about it, can’t wait for it, and look forward to answering any of your questions here along the way.
Molly, I’m surprised in the breakout new analyst, you didn’t mention Lindsey Vonn’s studio premier on Sunday with Rebecca and Lindsey. Just for all of you guys, I know you had three straight days of ratings increases over the weekend, but just wondering on earlier in the week and everything how the numbers are looking, and any concern with Monday and Wednesday with Nathan’s skates going beyond midnight on the East Coast, but had to help you out on the West Coast since it was around 9:00 or 9:15 pm.
PETE BEVACQUA: I would tell you, ratings, they are about where we thought they would be in terms of our estimates. We had a strong weekend. It appears that last night is going to be a very strong night for us in terms of where our estimate was. It looks like it’s going to be to have beaten Monday and Tuesday.
You think about the coverage of last night, we’re sitting here today, Molly and Mike and the team are preparing for tonight, and when you think about the combination of Shaun White and Mikaela Shiffrin, seeing how she’ll perform on the Super G tonight, I think we have a good night ahead of us, as well.
So we’ve seen this momentum. Obviously linear ratings are down across the board, but we have been satisfied in terms of what we expected, and we also have been very pleased with the performance of Peacock and the streaming numbers have really been off the charts for us.
I think admittedly, perhaps I’m a bit biased, but I think we’ve made real drastic improvements on what we’ve done with Peacock. When you grade our performance in Tokyo versus Beijing, and when you see the reception that Peacock has received from the Peacock subscribers and the Peacock customers, the fact that you can go there for all things Olympic has been a nice supplement to all of our prime coverage, our prime plus and our prime west coverage.
I also think we’re excited about the impact the Super Bowl will have as we move into the weekend, go through Sunday and really kind of, as I like to say to the team, boomerang into next week.
We think bringing the power of the Olympics and talking about it to the massive Super Bowl audience over the course of Sunday, and using that time strategically to introduce that larger viewing population to some of these Olympic heroes will benefit us as we move into week 2.
Molly, what’s it been like running things from Stamford? Do you find yourself trying to live on Beijing time while doing everything or East Coast time? How are you doing it?
MOLLY SOLOMON: Oh, that’s a good question. We are keeping Beijing hours. We do a 5:00 p.m. production meeting eastern time with our folks in Beijing, so imagine they’re getting up really early.
We’re coming in at midday, and then we’re on from approximately 8:00 p.m. eastern to 2:00, 2:30 in the morning eastern time, and then we regroup until about 5:00 in the morning and they continue in Beijing, which is great.
So as news breaks, and the night events in Beijing happen, they’re making changes and alterations to our primetime format. So while our team goes home to sleep for a couple of hours and comes back midday, we exchange notes and literally hand off from Beijing to East Coast time.
It’s a crazy schedule, but it’s the Olympics. It’s what we expect, and we love to do it.
MIKE TIRICO: Working now my fourth Olympics, three with the primetime and the late night group, Prime Plus, the one thing you realize is you don’t sleep much, no matter where you are.
The most common text amongst me, Molly, and Rob Hyland, our producer who’s done an unbelievable job in the chair producing these shows, is usually followed by the other one responding to one of us, ‘What are you doing up?’ Because we’re all up at hours we shouldn’t be up.
It’s a 24/7 operation right now, and most of us are putting in 18 or 19 of the 24 (hours) each day, and wouldn’t want it any other way. This is what we prepare for and it’s what we do, but it’s been a lot of fun for sure.
From your perspective, what gives you optimism that the linear numbers for these Games are not something that will be a carryover for Paris and beyond, and that is really just about the current environment that we’re in and all of the things that obviously have been discussed about these Games?
PETE BEVACQUA: It’s a good question, and obviously one we’ve given a lot of thought to as we’ve discussed this internally. You know the ratings pressures across the board in the industry, and obviously we don’t need to get into that.
When you think about the fact that we’re holding these Games during a pandemic, that the Tokyo Games were postponed for a year, which kind of threw off this cycle, that we’ve had two Olympics within six months of one another, that despite the fact that these have been unbelievable events for these Olympic athletes who train their entire lives and in the vast majority of instances only have one shot at Olympic glory, and at the end of the day that’s truly what the Olympic ideal is all about, but it’s no secret that athletes in masks, venues without spectators, so much of the passion and excitement, those great moments of Olympic athletes hugging their family and friends and spouses and partners, so much of that magic is just out of necessity not present.
Just think about the 2020 season for major leagues, whether it’s the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA, golf versus the ’21 season, and I think the NFL is a perfect example. Look at the difference in NFL ratings in ’21 compared to ’20. I think one of the main differences is because in ’20, we didn’t have the passionate NFL fan base in those stadiums adding to the atmosphere. We did our best out of necessity.
But this year, those fans were back and the ratings showed that. The fact that we’ve been able to bring these Games to life during a pandemic with only a six-month window between the two, the ratings are — of course we always want to have the ratings better — but the ratings for these Games, as I said, are about where we thought they’d be.
Why I’m energized is I think about where we’re going, think about Paris and Italy and LA. And knock on wood, not just for the Olympics, but for the sake of all of us, hopefully this pandemic is well beyond us by then, we have those spectators back in these venues bursting at the seams, we have those passionate family and friends and athletes without masks hugging each other and celebrating these Olympic achievements. We have our eye on that normalized future coming back into focus as we work our way through this pandemic, so that’s why we’re hopeful.
Despite having two Olympics in six months during a pandemic, the media dominance of these Games is still unparalleled. Tokyo, we in effect had 18 Sunday Night Football games in a row. This year we are dominating the primetime landscape again with the Olympics, and layer on top of that the Super Bowl.
Hey, we’re never going to rest on our laurels. We’re always going to try to get better, smarter, and do the best job we can, but we are certainly hopeful that we can turn this pandemic corner and get things closer to where they’ve been in the past in terms of ratings.
THE MODERATOR: One thing I would add on top of that is the social media factor of American fans being there, seeing their families, etc., and putting that stuff out on all the various social media platforms creates a buzz, and we have not been able to generate that buzz with Tokyo and Beijing and those viral moments of people experiencing the host city, etc.
Molly, understanding what the likelihood is of NBC making a formal request to interview Peng Shuai?
MOLLY SOLOMON: We’ve not made that request because she’s gone back into quarantine and left the Olympic bubble. I also think it’s really important — if we were to have an interview with her, we would need to know that we could ask any question and there wouldn’t necessarily be anyone else in the room, and I don’t know that right now is the right place to do that. But I think in the future we’ll have the opportunity.
But I will say, as she went from venue to venue over the weekend we made sure and Mike put into perspective that she was with the IOC President visiting the venues and followed up on that story all weekend long.
Question for either Pete or Molly: We’ve seen some integrations in the Olympic broadcast from the recent Salesforce partnership and some of the data and analytics, what they’ve been doing. I was hoping you could detail how you’re measuring the success or effectiveness of those integrations and in the early going what you’ve found to be the case and whether they are working from a fan engagement perspective.
PETE BEVACQUA: I would tell you we work hand-in-hand with our ad sales team led by Linda Yaccarino, Mark Marshall and Dan Lovinger and the back and forth we have with them, what we are hearing from them, and they are, as you can imagine our colleagues that are having the direct conversations with our ad partners, is that people have been incredibly pleased so far to-date with the integration of the ads.
It’s kind of a constant dialogue between them and our customers and those that are supporting these Games.
I’d like to say, I think we’ve done a good job of integrating these, making them additive to the coverage, additive to the storytelling without being distracting, so I think we’re kind of hitting that in an effective and efficient way.
Then of course after the Games, like we always do, we’ll regroup. We’ll go out and ask for their recommendations and their belief on how it went, and always try to improve it going forward. At this juncture here on Thursday of this opening week of the Olympics, things seem to be going quite well in that regard.
Mike, can you tell us a little more about what the life of Mike Tirico has been like the last number of days with the time zone changes, the flights, and what it was like to be over there for a little while?
MIKE TIRICO: Sure, happy to. I will say that being over there was very interesting. Being in the bubble meant you truly were separated from one of the biggest cities in the world. You would pull up to the hotel and a fence would close behind you and that hotel area was fenced in. Same was true with the broadcast center, same was true with the venues.
So the bubbles, you can go in and out of the other bubbles, but not mix in with the 21 million people of Beijing.
For me, I think for any of us who have covered the Olympics, that’s what you miss. You miss being around a host city. I missed sitting in Rio and having coffee and being able to speak with the people who live in Rio de Janeiro. Same thing in South Korea, to be able to eat kimchi there and get a sense what that’s like. Missed that in Tokyo a little bit and missed it completely in Beijing. For me, that was the disappointing part of this experience for sure.
But I will say, and we can always give teammates credit, but the people who were on the ground working for NBC, Molly gave you the numbers before, what an extraordinary job they have done. Many of them have been over there for over a month, so to be over for two weeks and in the bubble and not be able to really just go for a walk outside when you’d like is a small inconvenience to the sacrifice of a month or two months that they’ve made. I’m eternally grateful to my teammates over there in that regard.
For me, it’s been pretty easy. Try to be on the time of where you’re going. When we got on the plane in China a couple of days ago, the goal was get myself on East or West Coast time, so when we landed I was ready to hit the ground running.
We’ll do that after tonight’s show, head out to Los Angeles and pretend we’re on Pacific time and be ready for Super Bowl meetings on Friday out there before doing our Olympic coverage.
It has been exhilarating, not exhausting. We worked a lot in the month before this was coming up to be ready for this, and my goodness, we have great production teams on both sides. When I get off this call, Matt Casey, who’s one of our Super Bowl producers, Matt is going to FaceTime me and I’m going to walk through the rehearsal for the Lombardi Trophy that I would normally be doing in person. Then we have a two-hour meeting to talk about the content of our pregame show that I’ll just do via Microsoft Teams. And then we’ll hop into our production meeting for tonight’s primetime show and then do the primetime show.
It’s been time management. It’s been get a good night’s sleep where you can, and it has been as good as I hoped it would be. I’m just hoping that the weekend pays that off.
Watching the first couple of nights, the conversations that you had on air, yourself with Savannah, with your guests about the geopolitics in China and some of the very forthright things you were able to say, how important was it for you to be able to say them? And Molly, address how important it was for you as the executive producer for them to be able to be said on air.
MIKE TIRICO: Sure. I’ll be happy to go first. It was important because it was part of the story. We can’t hide from what is a part and essential to the coverage of the story.
I think we tried to make a very fine delineation between becoming a public affairs broadcast and how did it impact the Olympics, and certainly where we were and who was there mattered.
That’s why Molly and Pete both thought it was really important that I was physically there for the opening ceremony, and I’m so glad I was. Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin were 25 yards away in the stadium. You could just get a sense of the history of the moment by being there.
We spent a lot of time getting ready for these Games and what it meant not just to the sports fan, but what it meant to the world in general. I’m very, very proud of my alma mater, Syracuse University and love that my journalism education was there, but I had a dual degree. My other degree was political science. You can ask any of our NBC News colleagues, when our paths intersect I wear them out talking politics and all that is about international relations in our world.
This was something that’s of deep interest to me, and, boy, did we have great experts in Andy Brown and Jing Tsu, who are our experts in China and remain with us as needed for our coverage the next couple of weeks.
And obviously Savannah is as good as it gets, so to have her there, as well. We hopefully addressed the issues that mattered.
You’ll never satisfy everyone, especially in our country in 2022. People may say, “Oh, you talked too much about politics; oh, I want a little bit more of this, a little bit more of that.” That’s what the Opening Ceremony is. The Opening Ceremony is always this incredible mix of politics, what the athletes are wearing, and celebration and party. It’s really this very unique catchall event.
We tried to bring that to folks, and at the same time, spend the time Thursday on the issues that really impact America and the athletes of the world as the spotlight was on China.
I’m really, really proud of not what I did but what our team did. Our editorial team spent hours. Joe Gesue, Ron Vaccaro, a couple of names that don’t get mentioned, but tireless work that we all did to make sure that we did what we thought was the right thing to do to set the table for American viewers.
I hope that the conversation inspired people to spend more time on international relations. We live in a very complex and amazing country, but, man, there’s a really interesting world out there and a very interesting time.
The Olympics helped open my eyes and educated me. I’ve done more international-based reading than I have in years, and it made me realize that we are at a unique time. It was an honor to share some of that, and I’m really proud that under Molly’s leadership, we got the go-ahead to tackle these issues and be straightforward and honest with our viewers. We wanted the comebacks. We wanted to be honest with them, and hopefully we did the right thing by them.
So thanks. It may be a little longer than you asked for, but I appreciate the opportunity.
MOLLY SOLOMON: I think he said it all. It really was, I thought, an extraordinary moment, this nexus of sports and international relations.
Going in, we promised ourselves and we thought it was essential for the viewers to provide perspective on China’s complicated relationship with the rest of the world. It was really essential to set the stage for these Games during that ceremony, and we really accomplished that and were incredibly satisfied with how we pulled it off.
Imagine in the moments when we found out that the cauldron lighter was from Xinjiang, and kudos to Mike Tirico and Savannah Guthrie, to frame that moment, to connect it to all the other perspective we had provided throughout that ceremony.
That’s real-time television, a live opening ceremony, and I thought they did an extraordinary job of presenting that moment.
So incredibly proud of the team. As Mike said, we can’t say enough about the people behind the scenes who prep all of us and our experts, in particular Joe Gesue and Ron Vaccaro, who also worked very hard.
We did extensive interviewing to find the right analysts and experts to join us on air, so we really appreciate Jing Tsu taking time off from Yale and Andy Brown from Bloomberg to really help us frame the moment.
It was an important night for NBC Sports and NBCUniversal.
Molly, I know you mentioned some of the technology and production element highlights at the top, but anything else that’s really impressed you guys this year, especially some of the StroMotion stuff, the motion systems, rail cams, cable cams that OBS is providing? Also, how is the off-tube remote announcing operation working out so far this year in Stamford?
MOLLY SOLOMON: As you know, it’s such a closely affiliated relationship with OBS, the Olympic broadcasting service, and we depend on them even more during a pandemic. We’ve worked really closely with them, and they’re providing pictures at a number of our venues. If you watched Alpine the last few nights, the severity and steepness of this hill, I think they’re doing a really remarkable job covering the Alpine venue with the rail cams.
Have you seen the aerial of the extreme sports venues? When you see in the distance the moguls field to what they’re saying is the best halfpipe ever. I think it’s been really extraordinary coverage, and imagine that OBS is experiencing the same thing that NBC is trying to get folks into the country in the middle of a pandemic.
So the fact that there’s been no dropoff in the coverage is kudos to OBS.
As you said, there’s so many — I can’t list them all, of the enhancements that we’ve added, but the StroMotion in Alpine and also at figure skating, we’ve also got this amazing new tracker which shows how high in the air the figure skaters go on their jumps and how far they jump. So we’ll be using that in enhanced replay sequences.
Overall we are ecstatic over what both OBS and we have been able to pull off in the face of a pandemic.
Any thoughts on the remote announcing, the off-tube factory in Stamford? Has that been successful?
MOLLY SOLOMON: You know, we’ve gotten really good at this. We’ve been doing this for two and a half years because of the pandemic. You would always love to have your announcers on-site, but we had to pivot, like we do every single day with all of the headwinds that we run into, and we made the decision in January to ensure the integrity of the broadcast that we pulled our play-by-play and analysts home, but we made sure that we had reporters on-site because it’s most important to talk to the athletes and cover breaking news, and we have cameras at every single venue in the mixed zone.
In the beginning you wish you were there, but I think we’ve done a lot of really neat things with the fact that we’ve got all these announcers together. I don’t know if you watched the Alpine coverage last night, but Ted Ligety and Steve Porino were in a studio in Stamford, and they explained how sharp the blade of an Alpine ski is, and they cut up watermelon, papaya, and Ligety then opened a bottle of champagne, and that’s something we couldn’t have done in a small commentary booth on the hill in Beijing.
We have made the best of these circumstances, and actually I think it’s enhanced the storytelling.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, everybody, for joining us today. If you have any follow-up, reach out to the NBC Sports communications team and we will accommodate you. Pete, Molly and Mike, thanks for the time, and thank you, everybody.