NBCUniversal pushes ahead with Olympics, despite low vaccination rate in Japan

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The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo were delayed a year due to the pandemic. The Olympics will begin July 23, but health officials in Japan have concerns because of the country’s low vaccination rate. Photo by Chaay_Tee / Shutterstock

The Olympics begin on July 23, but health officials in Tokyo have worries because Japan’s vaccination rate is still under 10%. A top medical adviser in Japan said it would be safest if no fans were allowed to attend. 

The Olympics are critically important to NBCUniversal — the official broadcaster of the Olympic Games — and its streaming service Peacock. 

Jimmy Kimmel had harsh words for NBCUniversal at the TV upfronts in May, saying, “NBC is planning to move forward with the Olympics this summer, even if they have to kill every last person in Japan to do it.” 

After being rescheduled from last summer, the Olympics seem to be going ahead because there’s so much money involved. Between commitments made by NBCUniversal and the IOC, billions of dollars are at stake.  

NBCUniversal is counting on the Olympics to provide a big boost for Peacock, which the Wall Street Journal revealed only has 10 million paying subscribers.  

There will likely be some kind of Olympics content exclusive to Peacock, but it’s unclear how many viewers will be driven to sign up to watch Olympic events that may be lacking some of the glory and glamor of previous years. These Olympics will have a limited number of fans allowed on the premises, and the ones that are there will have to wear masks and are being asked to clap instead of cheer.

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Guest:

Host:

Kim Masters

Producer:

Kaitlin Parker