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Olympics on TV have changed dramatically since Miracle on Ice

Now with the popularity of hockey, NBC is expected to devote an entire channel to both the men's and women's hockey tournaments.

Viewers will be able to watch every event during this year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo either live or on demand via many options. That wasn't the case in 1980 when the United States stunned the Soviet Union during the Lake Placid Games. 

The Americans' stunning 4-3 victory was shown on tape delay because the game started at 5 p.m. on the East Coast. That would be impossible today. Announcer Al Michaels called the Miracle on Ice game and said it was easy to keep people in the dark then about outcomes because there was no social media and cable TV was in its infancy. 

“If you go back to what happened, cable TV is in its infancy, no internet, no national newspaper, no social media, none of what we have today,” said Michaels. “So you could truly keep a lot of people in the dark as to what the result was.” 

ABC aired just 51 hours of Olympics coverage over the course of 13 days in 1980, the Associated Press points out. For the Tokyo Olympics, NBC is expected to cover 7,000 hours via eight networks in addition to the coverage that will go out online. 

In 1980, only three of the seven U.S. hockey games were broadcast in their entirety. Now with the popularity of hockey, NBC is expected to devote an entire channel to both the men's and women's hockey tournaments.

For the Miracle on Ice game, ABC forked over $15.5 million for the rights to air games in Lake Placid, New York. This year in Tokyo, the fee to air the games is $1.5 billion. 

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