CBC Olympic broadcasts

The broadcasts of Summer and Winter Olympic Games produced by CBC Sports is shown on CBC Television and heard on CBC's radio networks in Canada. CBC was the broadcaster of the 2014, 2016, and 2018 Olympics.


The first telecast of the Olympics on Canadian television was CBC's broadcast of the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. CBC aired black-and-white highlights of the previous day's events and aired the Canada vs. Soviet Union hockey game live by leasing a standby circuit from CBS and making CBC's 1st winter Olympics in the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, USA. Critics compared CBC's overall Olympic coverage unfavourably to that of ABC, which broadcast same-day colour highlights throughout the Games. For the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy, CBC produced a total of 17 hours of radio and TV coverage for the 1960 Summer Olympics. CBC Television broadcast same-day highlights each night. The half-hour package featured was provided by CBS Sports, which had the broadcast rights in the United States. CBS sportscasters Bud Palmer, Gil Stratton, and Bob Richards provided commentary. CBS sent videotapes of each day's events by jet to Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport) in New York City where a mobile transmission unit there beamed the pictures to the CBC and CBS networks. On radio Ward Cornell and Thom Benson gave listeners 15-minute reports every evening except Sunday on the CBC's Trans-Canada Network and Doug Smith gave half-hour evening wrap-ups on CBC's Dominion Network.

CBC lost their Winter Olympic[1] broadcasting rights to CTV following the 1960 Olympics, but retained their rights to the Summer Olympics.[2] The CBC Television broadcasters for the 1964 Summer games were Ted Reynolds, Dave Cruikshank, Bob McDevitt, Steve Douglas, and Lloyd Robertson. Ward Cornell, Al Hamel, Bob Moir, Don Goodwin, and Bill Good were the broadcasters for CBC Radio. For the Tokyo Olympics, CBC Television used the same satellite as NBC, the recently launched Syncom 3, to transmit late-night highlight packages of events from that day.[3]

The CBC provided its first colour pictures of Olympic competition during the 1968 Summer Olympics from Mexico City. CBC Radio broadcast five-minute hourly updates and occasional live reports. CBC Olympic host Lloyd Robertson was praised by The Globe and Mailwriter Leslie Millin for his cool demeanour in the face of many technical glitches including "strange breaks, noises, lapses and unscheduled fade-outs." Millin applauded Robertson, normally a newscaster, for "working with the grace and agility of a man hired to stamp grapes in a Sicilian winery." [4]

The CBC almost cancelled their plans for coverage of the 1980 Summer Olympics after Canada took part in the boycott, but decided not to and was represented by nine accreditation cards.[5]

Canada's Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, a joint venture between CTVglobemedia (now Bell Media) and Rogers Media, acquired the rights to broadcast the Vancouver-hosted 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The move was met with displeasure from Americans close to the border, because they cannot access CTV like they can the CBC and prefer Canada's Olympics coverage over that of U.S. broadcaster NBC.[6]

2014 to present

On August 1, 2012, the CBC announced that it had acquired the Canadian broadcast rights to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, returning the Games to the broadcaster for the first time since 2008. While financial details were not announced, the CBC did state that it was a "financially and fiscally responsible bid", which would carry on the organization's 60-year history of Olympic broadcasting.[7] The CBC sublicensed coverage of the Games to TSN and Sportsnet (which were the main cable networks of the Bell/Rogers consortium) in English,[8][9] and TVA Sports in French.[10]

On October 28, 2014, it was announced that CBC had extended its rights to the Olympics through 2020, and that it would continue its arrangements with Bell Media and Rogers Media to provide production resources and distribute coverage through the TSN and Sportsnet networks. CBC leads production of the telecasts and sells all advertising time, "top-tier" events are reserved primarily for CBC Television, and all events are streamed online on CBC's Olympic microsites. Again, financial details were not disclosed and the bid was described as being "fiscally responsible", although the broadcasters involved did disclose that they planned to "break even" on their coverage. The renewed partnership came amidst changes and cuts at CBC Sports, as the Olympics remain the only major sports property whose Canadian rights are owned by the CBC, having recently lost its rights to FIFA tournaments (such as the FIFA World Cup)[11] and the National Hockey League to Bell and Rogers respectively (although CBC continues to air NHL games through a time-brokerage agreement with Rogers), and having announced that, aside from the Olympics, it would no longer pursue broadcast rights to professional sports. Rogers Media president Keith Pelley justified the partnership, stating the number of platforms involved would "satisfy the demands" for Olympic content by Canadian viewers.[12][13][14]

In October 2015, CBC re-branded its weekend sports broadcasts as Road to the Olympic Games; the new brand emphasized CBC's year-round broadcasts of sports contested at the Olympics.[15] Also in October 2015, it was announced CBC has secured the rights to the 2022 and 2024 Olympic Games. [16]

CBC reported that at least 31.9 million viewers watched a portion of its coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics, with an average viewership of 2.1 million. The gains were credited to a strong medal performance by Canada during the first 10 days of the Games, and notable performances by Penny Oleksiak and Andre De Grasse; ratings peaked during the men's 100 metre final, featuring De Grasse and world record holder Usain Bolt, which was seen by 6.92 million viewers.[17]

Hours of coverage

Year Host Hours of Coverage
1956 SummerMelbourne, Australia
1960 WinterSquaw Valley, USA
1960 SummerRome, Italy17 [18]
1964 SummerTokyo, Japan
1968 SummerMexico City, Mexico30[4]
1972 SummerMunich, West Germany
1976 SummerMontreal, Canada
1980 SummerMoscow, USSR
1984 WinterSarajevo, Yugoslavia
1984 SummerLos Angeles, USA
1988 SummerSeoul, South Korea
1992 WinterAlbertville, France
1996 SummerAtlanta, USA242
1998 WinterNagano, Japan359
2000 SummerSydney, Australia275
2002 WinterSalt Lake City, USA262
2004 SummerAthens, Greece282
2006 WinterTurin, Italy260
2008 SummerBeijing, China281
2014 WinterSochi, Russia1519[19]
2016 SummerRio de Janeiro, Brazil2,000+[20]
2018 WinterPyeongchang, South Korea3,100+[21]


See also


  1. "Winter Olympic Games on CBC - Google Search". www.google.com.
  2. "Summer Olympic Games on CBC - Google Search". www.google.com.
  3. CBC News http://archives.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/clips/7327/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. CBC News http://archives.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/clips/7330/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. 1980 Summer Olympics Official Report from the Organizing Committee Archived May 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, vol. 2, p. 379
  6. Gerstner, Joanne C. (21 February 2010). "Canadian TV Switch Displeases Americans". The New York Times.
  7. "CBC wins rights to 2014, 2016 Olympic Games". CBC Sports. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  8. "Sportsnet to air 200 hours of Sochi Games". Sportsnet.ca. Archived from the original on 2013-02-13. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  9. "CBC/Radio Canada welcomes partners in 2014 Sochi Olympics coverage". CBC. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  10. "CBC/Radio-Canada seals agreement with TVA Sports for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games". Canada Newswire. 2 May 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  11. "Bell Media lands deal for FIFA soccer from 2015 through 2022". TSN.ca. Archived from the original on 2013-12-12. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  12. "Russell: CBC's Olympic deal a big win for Canadian sport". CBC Sports. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  13. Shoalts, David (28 October 2014). "CBC lands broadcast rights to 2018, 2020 Olympics". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  14. "CBC to cut 657 jobs, will no longer compete for professional sports rights". CBC News. April 10, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  15. "CBC Sports launches Road to the Olympic Games". CBC Sports. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  16. "CBC/RADIO-CANADA WINS BROADCAST RIGHTS TO OLYMPIC GAMES IN 2022 AND 2024". CBC Sports. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  17. "Gold-medal-worthy ratings for CBC amid Rio Olympics". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  18. CBC News http://archives.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/clips/7326/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. http://io.cbcrc.ca/Pages/En/news/employee/2014/february-board-note.aspx
  20. "Rio 2016: CBC's Olympic hosts provide round-the-clock coverage - CBC Sports".
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