Olympics coverage announced by CBC, TSN, Bell

With more than a dozen major sponsors - including GM, McDonald's, Visa, Johnson & Johnson, Bombardier and Weston Bakeries - on board, the Ceeb's ad inventory is nearly sold out.

Dave Scapillati, CBC’s general manager of media sales and marketing, announced at a news conference this week that the Ceeb’s ad inventory for the Beijing Olympic Games is ‘approaching sell-out.’

Among the major sponsors for a total of 2,500 hours of coverage – all of it in HD, with roughly 1,500 hours streamed live on the Internet on cbcsports.ca – are GM, McDonald’s, Visa, Johnson & Johnson, Bell, Bombardier, Weston Bakeries, the Royal Canadian Mint, Air Canada, Rona, Petro Canada, RBC and PepsiCo.

Scapillati’s colleague, CBC Sports exec director Scott Moore, said the Chinese government is adapting to the Western media’s insatiable appetite and likely won’t hamper in-depth coverage of the upcoming Beijing Olympics, which begin Aug. 6.

Moore said he’s witnessed a ‘sea change’ in the Chinese government’s attitude over the past year. To illustrate his point, he mentioned a recent press conference with two Chinese officials responsible for security at the Games. ‘There we were, the rabid Western broadcasters – and they told us there wouldn’t be any questions. But the organizing committee must have taken them behind the woodshed that night because they came back to answer questions.’

Broadcasters will have the freedom to operate satellite trucks throughout Beijing, including in Tiananmen Square, the site of the 1989 protests and subsequent massacre that was initially off limits, said Moore. ‘They are bending in ways I didn’t expect them to bend. From a cultural standpoint it’s unbelievable.’

The large time difference between China and North America (12 hours in some zones) will benefit Canadian viewers, who will be able to see big-ticket events such as swimming and gymnastics gold medal contests live during Olympic Prime.

CBC will begin its Games broadcasting on Wednesday, August 6 at 4:45 am on its main network and on CBCSports.ca with live coverage of a preliminary women’s soccer match featuring Canada vs. Argentina. The next day at 9 pm, CBC will offer Beijing 2008 Preview (repeated at 8 pm on CBCSports.ca), followed by live coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Friday, August 8 at 7 am (simulcast on CBC Newsworld).

Most events will air live and in partnership with CBCsports.ca (1,500 hours), CBC’s digital channel bold (250 hours), CBC Newsworld (145 hours), CBC Radio, Radio-Canada (263 hours), RDS (206 hours) and TSN (150 hours).

Each morning from 6 am to noon, CBC will air Olympic Morning, hosted by Scott Russell (Hockey Night in Canada) and Diana Swain. At 6 pm, Olympic Prime kicks off with host Ron MacLean (Coach’s Corner). Ian Hanomansing takes over at midnight to host Olympic Pacific Time.

CBCSports.ca will offer up to nine live, uninterrupted streamed events daily through the games. CBCSports.ca/Olympics will provide extensive on-demand videos, interviews, highlights, cultural features, CBC News regional reports and CBC Radio clips. Starting August 8, bold will offer live coverage of equestrian and sailing events.

CBC Newsworld will provide special interviews and features during Beijing Today, airing every hour on the half-hour, starting August 9 at 6:30 am until 1 pm. The show will be hosted by veteran sports journalist Brian Dunstan. CBC News: Morning hosts Heather Hiscox and Colleen Jones will tell big stories of the day from the sidelines.

CBC News: The National, hosted by Peter Mansbridge, will air live from Monday, August 4 to Thursday, August 7 at 9 pm and 11 pm on CBC Newsworld and at 10 pm on CBC Television.

CBC Radio One will provide scores and results, along with insider’s perspectives on the events from Saturday, August 9 to Saturday, August 23. The Olympic Report begins at 5:53 am.

Dubbed Bell Mobility’s Beijing 2008 video bundle, Bell will deliver a two-to-three-minute highlight package of CBC’s Olympic Games coverage throughout the day to customers’ cellphones. It will provide Canada’s medal standings, exclusive interviews with athletes and text votes for top Bell Olympic Moments on CBC every day.

Bell ExpressVu‘s Olympic Mosaic will provide access to five different channels at once – CBC, CBC HD, CBC Newsworld, bold and TSN. It will also offer Bell Moment of the Day and Olympic Interactive to show the latest news, in-depth information, athlete biographies, history, sports essentials and broadcast schedules.

TSN‘s Olympic programming from August 9-24 will include all game coverage in high definition. Dave Randorf (host of the CFL on TSN and play-by-play announcer for international hockey) will host the prime-time show, while Gino Reda (of TSN’s popular daily hockey show That’s Hockey) will host the early morning programming. Vic Rauter and Russ Anber (In This Corner with Russ Anber) will be on-site to provide commentary and analysis for boxing.

SportsCentre will provide daily highlights, news and updates. TSN.ca will offer the latest news, results, interactive polls, schedules, photo galleries and synopses of Canadian athletes’ performances. TSN.ca will also send emails to Olympic news subscribers and SMS alerts every time a Canadian wins a medal.

For TSN’s broadcast schedule, see http://www.tsn.ca/olympics/feature/?fid=10580

With files from Playback Daily