NBC pulling Mike Tirico out of China early
By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links
The network announced that Tirico, who was been anchoring from China since Feb. 6, 2022, is coming home.
The network announced they will fly Tirico back to NBC Sports headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, after Monday, Feb. 7, 2022’s primetime broadcast, where he will anchor Wednesday and Thursday Olympics coverage.
Tirico was scheduled to anchor primetime Olympics coverage from Beijing until Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, when he would have flown to Los Angeles to prep for Super Bowl coverage, which is slated for Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022.
He was then scheduled to fly back to China shortly after the Super Bowl for the rest of the Olympics, but NBC now says he’ll head back to Stamford after Sunday’s big game instead.
According to NBC, the change is being made to make it easier for coordinate between on air commentators working out of Connecticut.
The network did not mention if COVID-19 protocols and restrictions or transmission concerns in China had any role in the decision.
NBC and other networks from around the world are producing shows remotely this year, just as many did for the delayed 2020 Summer Olympics coverage that aired in 2021.
Major events are even being announced remotely, with commentators stationed in Connecticut while watching live feeds from China. Again, this was something that was done by many broadcasters in 2021.
NBC also opted not to send its primary “Today” anchors nor Lester Holt to China this year, primarily over coronavirus concerns. Both shows traditionally have originated for at least a week from the host city in the past.
This year marks the first time NBC has had the Winter Olympics and Super Bowl in the same year — and with both events taking place during the same time period.
Typically if the Super Bowl falls during the Winter Olympics it’s moved to avoid competing with the Games.
However, NBC purposefully orchestrated having both events in the same year in order to capitalizing on advertising sales opportunities and hopping to keep eyeballs on its network for two of the biggest sporting evenings of 2022.
In order to accomplish this, it had to swap years with CBS, who was originally slated to carry the 2022 Super Bowl. Rights for the Super Bowl rotated through the networks with NFL broadcast contracts each year.