NBC Will Not Send Announcers to Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics amid COVID-19 Concerns

·2 min read
Beijing Winter Olympics
Beijing Winter Olympics

Wang Xin/VCG via Getty

NBC doesn't plan to send announcers to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics due to concerns about COVID-19.

The network confirmed the news in a statement shared with PEOPLE Thursday, explaining that analysts will instead break down the coverage play-by-play from the NBC Sports headquarters Stamford, Connecticut. The move marks the second consecutive Games that the network mostly runs coverage from the U.S. office, the Associated Press reported.

"The announce teams for these Olympics, including figure skating, will be calling events from our Stamford facility due to COVID concerns," an NBC spokesperson told PEOPLE.

"We'll still have a large presence on the ground in Beijing and our coverage of everything will be first rate as usual, but our plans are evolving by the day as they are for most media companies covering the Olympics," they added.

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Beijing Winter Olympics
Beijing Winter Olympics

Lintao Zhang/Getty

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The update comes shortly after officials in Beijing reported their first case of the highly contagious Omicron variant on Saturday, prompting an immediate lockdown and mass testing.

"Our plans will continue to evolve based on the conditions, and we're going to stay flexible as we move through this," a spokesperson for the network told the AP.

According to the outlet, about 250 NBC employees, mostly technical staff, are currently on the ground in Beijing before the Games begin.

Other outlets have also announced adjusted coverage, including ESPN, who will not be sending staffers.

Remote reporting became the norm for many stations at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games, as networks navigated rigorous restrictions to cover the action, while reducing the potential spread of the viral disease.

The Beijing Olympics kick off in just two weeks, with the opening ceremony airing Feb. 4. The Games will be available to watch on local NBC stations as well as NBC Sports and also stream on Peacock.

To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Winter Olympics, beginning this February, and the Winter Paralympics, beginning this March, on NBC.

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