June 23 (Reuters) - Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal said on Wednesday it will air some of the most anticipated Tokyo Olympics events including gymnastics and USA Men’s basketball on its streaming platform Peacock, in an effort to draw more viewers to the service.
The Olympics, which this summer will have limited spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are an opportunity for NBCUniversal to attract viewers and advertiser dollars and promote its Peacock streaming service at a time when viewers are watching less live TV. NBCUniversal paid $7.65 billion to extend its U.S. broadcast rights for the Olympics through 2032.
The media company is also preparing to air the Olympics at a time when a majority of Japanese citizens oppose holding the Games as the country continues to struggle with COVID-19 infections.
Peacock, which launched across the United States last July, offers a free, ad-supported version and two paid options: a $4.99 per month service with commercials and 20,000 hours of programming; and an ad-free version costing $9.99 per month.
All of Peacock’s programming of the Tokyo Olympics will be free, with the exception of USA Men’s basketball, which will require a premium subscription.
Reporting by Helen Coster in New York and Sheila Dang in Dallas Editing by Marguerita Choy