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NBC Sports Successfully Broadcasts Winter Olympics across Platforms

Serving as president with NBC Sports Regional Networks, David Preschlack is responsible for a wide range of media content and strategy. David Preschlack is part of a leading broadcast network that stood out in early 2022 by covering both the Super Bowl and the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Held consecutively over 18 days and nights, the latter event was watched by an estimated 160 million Americans. With an average primetime viewership of 11.4 million, it was the most watched programming of 2021-22 after NFL football. It also stood as the most streamed Winter Olympics ever, with 4.3 billion minutes viewed across NBC Universal’s social media and digital channels.

In addition, the video streaming service Peacock witnessed a significant increase in usage, signups, and awareness throughout the Olympics. With every Olympic moment streamed for the first time in history, the user experience was described as a major upgrade from only six months earlier. Coverage not only met the expectations of real-time viewers, but expanded what advertising partners got out of the event in terms of reaching target consumers.

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Brand Evolution Strategies

A Denison University economics graduate, David Preschlack was also the university tennis team captain in 1991-1995. The Southport-based sports professional joined NBC Sports in 2016 and has been named to the Top 100 List by Cablefax. In 2017, under his watch, NBC had two of their networks claiming the top spot in their respective markets. David Preschlack has led the recent brand evolution at NBC.

Every brand strategy starts with good intentions, but as time passes, reality sets in, and you realize the need to change or modify tactics. A brand evolution allows a company to keep up with consumers’ changing demands and expectations.

When pursuing brand evolution, you must have a clear reason for doing it. One way is by understanding consumer sentiments, enabling your brand to stay up to date and relevant in an ever-changing business environment.

Brand evolution is achieved by actively listening to your audience. Research is useful in understanding your target client’s proprieties and perspective. This will aid the development of relevant and suitable messages in a language that resonates with the changing or new circumstances.

NBC Sports Edge BetCast and How Golf Is Embracing Sports Betting

Betting has become an increasingly core component of the fan experience in sports, and the PGA TOUR, in partnership with NBC Sports and PointsBet, is capitalizing on this trend. The three parties collaborated in February 2021 to present NBC Sports Edge BetCast, which featured 10 hours of betting-focused programming of the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Peacock Premium.

The PGA TOUR has made several moves in the sports betting space since the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018. It announced an official daily fantasy game partnership with DraftKings in 2020 and later initiated deals with BetMGM, FanDuel, and PointsBet. Total wagers on golf events at PointsBet, the official betting partner of NBC Sports, was up more than 105 percent in 2020 from 2019, suggesting an increase in demand for alternative betting-focused viewing options like NBC Sports Edge BetCast.

NBC Sports first debuted the BetCast format for a regional broadcast of a 2019 NBA game in Philadelphia. The show for the Waste Management Phoenix Open followed a featured group of golfers and included a second screen on which George Savaricas and Steve Burkowski of the Golf Channel and Teddy Greenstein of PointsBet analyzed performances, with particular focus on betting implications and player odds. The three analysts were stationed at a set situated on the par-3 No. 16 at TPC Scottsdale.

Through PointsBet, bettors can place prop bets on the performance of specific golfers at any given hole. They can also place bets on whether a player will shoot par, bogey or worse, or birdie or better over the course of two or more holes. PointsBet offers five times as many betting options than the average sportsbook and, as an official partner of NBC Sports, has committed to spending $400 million in advertising across the network’s platforms over the next 5 years.

The three analysts on the Peacock Premium broadcast covered the tournament while providing in-depth analysis on player performance with regard to the aforementioned props. In addition to hole-by-hole performance, bettors could select winners of head-to-head matchups and place wagers on individual round leaders, cutline makes and misses, featured players’ longest drive, and featured group combined scoring. The broadcast featured companion graphics with information on betting odds and player performance. NBC aired a traditional broadcast of the tournament on its main primary feed.

Savaricas, Burkowski, and Greenstein were also tasked with educating viewers who might not be all that familiar with prop betting on golf. Jay Croucher, head trader at PointsBet, also joined the broadcast from the company’s United States headquarters in Denver, Colorado, to explain how markets are created and how betting odds change on a minute-by-minute basis.

David Preschlack, president of NBC Sports regional networks and executive vice president of content strategy for NBC Sports Group, said the betting-focused broadcast was the next logical step for the broadcaster given the increase in sports betting activity over the past few years. The NBC Sports Edge BetCast was a one-time production for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but Preschlack expects it will return for future PGA TOUR events, as well as other sports.

NBC Sports Regional Networks Redesigns Websites and Apps

As 2020 drew to a close, NBC Sports Regional Networks launched an all-new website design with a strong emphasis on multimedia content. The complete relaunch of NBC’s mobile and desktop websites allowed for more accessible and quicker navigation for fans using digital sports platforms, particularly those interested in accessing multimedia content. Some of the content placed front and center on these sites include live and on-demand video segments, comprehensive game-day coverage, various audio feeds, and written articles.

Handheld and mobile devices were a point of particular focus, with NBC executives desiring responsive designs for the now ubiquitous technology. The redesign project involved six market-specific online platforms serving fans in the Bay Area/California, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, DC-Baltimore, and Portland, Oregon. These markets encompass various sports and leagues, ranging from Golden State Warriors basketball to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competitions involving the University of Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State Beavers. The newly designed websites now feature portals to all local teams, not just those with NBC partnership deals.

David Preschlack, the president of NBC Sports Regional Networks and the executive vice president of content strategy for the NBC Sports Group, said that the project represented NBC’s commitment to best-in-class services and the overall consumer experience. Between these redesigned platforms and NBC’s other efforts, such as the MyTeams app, David Preschlack believes the network has positioned itself not just to meet but exceed user expectations, especially regarding customized, local sports preferences and interests.

Around the same time as the launch of the redesigned websites and mobile apps, David Preschlack was given oversight of NBC Sports, Olympics, and golf scheduling, planning, and rights management as part of a move to centralize businesses. Since the move, David Preschlack has also expanded the networks with online betting and daily fantasy service providers.

In addition to team-specific news and analysis, newly designed digital spaces make it easy to access high-utility sports resources, ranging from team schedules to live and recent scores. To maintain consistency and facilitate a familiar, enjoyable consumer experience, all platforms have been formatted to align with the MyTeams by NBC Sports mobile app.

The new sites also have a look and feel of NBCNews.com and other NBC-owned station websites, including the use of the Founders Grotesk and Publico fonts. Other visual staples, which were designed, in part, by agency Code and Theory, range from bold blocks of solid colors to faded city imagery.

Easy access to live stream coverage of the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), and Major League Baseball (MLB) games was another key priority for the project. These streams are available at no extra cost to authenticated subscribers in the United States. They include pregame and post-game content, including game day programming for National Football League (NFL) games. These streams also have digital access to each network’s television channel feeds.

Individuals can preview the redesigned platforms by visiting websites such as NBCSportsBayArea.com or NBCSportsBoston.com. It should be noted that in addition to team-specific content and online portals, websites will continue to carry multimedia content involving popular national storylines and teams and athletes in other markets.

PGA, NBC, and PointsBet Launch Betcast at 2021 WMPO

Early in 2021, the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) expanded its relationship with the online betting and daily fantasy golf communities by announcing a brand new, second-screen broadcast dedicated specifically to gamblers. Released by NBC Sports through Peacock Premium, the paid version of NBC’s Peacock streaming service, the second-screen broadcast made its debut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open (WMPO) as part of a collaboration with PointsBet. The WMPO launch of the broadcast, known as NBC Sports Edge Betcast, featured commentary by Golf Channel personalities George Savaricas and Steve Burkowski, alongside Teddy Greenstein of PointsBet.

Discussing NBC Sports Edge Betcast, NBC Sports Group executive vice president of content strategy and president of NBC Sports’ regional networks David Preschlack said the new program would follow the format set by PGA Tour Live. However, commentary during the daily 2.5-hour block would emphasize talking points based on various betting markets and player odds.

Norb Gambuzza, the senior vice president of media and gaming for the PGA Tour, said that the tour had been planning the second-screen broadcast with NBC and PointsBet for nearly a year. Gambuzza added that NBC Sports Edge Betcast represents only the start of professional golf’s foray into the world of gambling and fantasy sports. The 2021 WMPO event provided the perfect backdrop for the launch, as Brooks Koepka recorded a memorable come from behind victory, edging Kyoung-Hoon Lee and Xander Schauffele by just one stroke.

Following the program’s launch at WMPO, the PGA continued to work toward integrating the new broadcast across several digital platforms, including a live leaderboard with betting odds available at PGATour.com and through the PGA Tour app. NBC Sports Edge Betcast comes on the heels of the PGA signing a multi-year deal with DraftKings. The 2020 agreement made DraftKings the official daily fantasy game for pro golf and an official betting operator under the tour. In addition to DraftKings and PointsBet, FanDuel and BetMGM have come aboard as PGA operators.

Professional golf has been relatively ambitious in embracing online betting and daily fantasy, dating back to a 2018 US Supreme Court decision overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The tour’s early efforts have already paid dividends: according to PointsBet chief executive officer Johnny Aitken, golf betting increased by more than 105 percent year over year from 2019 to 2020.

That said, Gambuzza remains fixed on striking a fine balance between the betting and online fantasy audience and those interested in the sport itself. “We’re cautious of [betting] being too much in your face,” he said to GolfDigest. Of course, that is precisely the role Betcast will serve, allowing a broadcast to dedicate itself entirely to bettering and fantasy play without impacting non-gambling golf fans in any way.

While the second-screen broadcast is new to the PGA, NBC Sports initially debuted Betcast in 2019 during a Philadelphia 76ers basketball game. Preschlack stated that his time would closely follow the initial PGA broadcasts to fine-tune the experience, with an eye on expanding into more sports in the future.