NBC’s US$1 billion deal to become America’s official Olympic media for the Beijing 2008 Games was part of a record breaking $2.3 billion deal that included the the 2004 Summer Olympics ($793m) and the 2006 Winter Games ($613m). In what they’ve called the single most ambitious media project in history, NBC has sent the largest media contingent of about 3,000 to produce a whopping 3,600 hours of coverage. While we were in Beijing last week, we were fortunate enough to catch sight of Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira and Al Roker of The Today Show which broadcasts live from their open air studio on the Olympic Green. This marks the sixth Olympics that the show has travelled to and every evening here at 7pm, the studio attracts an enthusiastic crowd of (mostly) Americans waving flags and banners hoping to say hi to friends and family just waking up back home.
Apart from all the usual sports coverage, NBC has devoted a great part of its programming to giving Americans a 101 course in all things Chinese — from language to fashion, food, architecture and travel. Here’s a smattering of what we’ve found online. Expect to see a huge surge in China-bound American tourists after the Games.
Catch the videos after the jump.