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Due to COVID Concerns, ESPN Will Not Staff Winter Olympics in China

Robust remote coverage plans will kick off prior to start of competition

Due to concerns about COVID-19 and other COVID-related restrictions, ESPN will not be sending any news personnel to the Winter Olympics in China and will instead focus on covering the Games remotely with a robust plan that will roll out prior to the beginning of competition next month.

“The safety of our employees is of utmost importance to us,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN Executive Vice President, Event and Studio Production & Executive Editor. “With the pandemic continuing to be a global threat, and with the COVID-related on-site restrictions in place for the Olympics that would make coverage very challenging, we felt that keeping our people home was the best decision for us.”

ESPN had planned to send four reporters to China, after traveling five employees to last year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo, but those reporters will now join a larger group dedicated to covering the Games remotely. As was the case with the Summer Olympics, organizers have taken steps to make information and online interviews available for media outlets covering the Games remotely. ESPN has multiple reporters assigned to do so for both television and digital news platforms.

Just as with the Summer Olympics, ESPN.com has a special section dedicated to Olympics coverage. There are plans for multiple features dedicated to the Olympics that will continue to roll out leading up to and during the days of competition. ESPN.com and the ESPN App also will have scoreboards, medal counts, and other statistics that are constantly updated in real-time.

In addition, SportsCenter will be reporting on results and presenting Olympics information and features while working within video usage restrictions. With NBCUniversal being the U.S. rights holder for the Olympics, ESPN will, as it has for past Olympics, operate within restrictions on usage of video as will all other non-NBCU U.S. news outlets.

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