Beijing Olympics, live from New York

NBC, probably the biggest backers of the IOC having paid $894 million for broadcast rights, will cover at least 10 sports at the Beijing Olympics from offices at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York.

NBC will employ 2,900 people, including 106 commentators, to broadcast 3,600 hours of the Games in Beijing across seven channels and But some key events will be covered “down the tube”, with broadcasters voicing commentaries in New York.

Brian Walker, NBC’s senior director of corporate communications, downplayed the significance of not having some of its network broadcasters on site, saying the practice has become more commonplace and that it would not affect the most high-profile Olympic sports, according to a report at the weekend in the Chicago Tribune.

“This is part of a mandate from the IOC to reduce strain on the host city by bringing fewer people,” he said.

Despite the credit crunch and threatened economic downturn, NBC aims at making $1 billion in ad revenues from the Olympics.

The 10 sports that NBC will cover remotely are archery, badminton, baseball, equestrianism, fencing, handball, shooting, football, softball and tennis. Even some basketball games also will be covered off monitors in New York.

Walker said the network had not intended to announce its remote Beijing plan but also had not attempted to hide it from the public. Walker said NBC has mandated that its broadcasters refrain from using misleading words such as “here” if they are not, in fact, in China for the Games.

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