NBC plans to show the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony live ©NBC

NBC Olympics has announced plans for its first live morning broadcast of an Olympic Opening Ceremony from Tokyo.

The broadcaster claimed the Opening Ceremony of the delayed Games will be especially meaningful this year, with Tokyo 2020 viewed as the first major global gathering since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

NBC said it wanted to provide viewer with the opportunity to watch the "historic experience" with people around the world, leading to the decision to broadcast an Olympic Opening Ceremony live in the morning for the first time.

"Following the unprecedented challenges presented by the global pandemic, the world will come together in Tokyo for what could be the most meaningful and anticipated Opening Ceremony ever," said Pete Bevacqua, chairman of NBC Sports Group.

"Given the magnitude of this event, we want to provide viewers with as many ways to connect to it as possible, live or in primetime."

Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of the East Coast of the United States.

This will mean coverage will begin at 7am Eastern Time and 4am Pacific Time on NBC, with the ceremony scheduled for 8pm local time in Tokyo.

NBC has previously received criticism for airing Opening Ceremonies and competitions at the Olympic Games on tape delays, which are aimed at ensuring primetime coverage in each time zone in the country.

NBC has confirmed the Tokyo Opening Ceremony will be replayed to allow viewers to watch in primetime.

"We are delighted to offer live coverage of the Opening Ceremony for those who want immediacy, and, later in the day, build on NBC Olympics’ terrific primetime legacy with a full celebration of these much anticipated Tokyo Olympics, complete with expert analysis and enhanced coverage of Team USA," said Molly Solomon, executive producer and President of NBC Olympics Production.

Live coverage of the Opening Ceremony is due to be followed by a special edition of NBC’s Today programme, which will feature reaction and athlete interviews.

NBC’s first Olympic Daytime show will then follow.

Primetime and overnight showings of the Opening Ceremony are then planned.

NBC will replay the Opening Ceremony at prime time in the Unite States ©Getty Images
NBC will replay the Opening Ceremony at prime time in the Unite States ©Getty Images

NBC is the current broadcaster rights holder in the United States for all Games through to 2032, and is viewed as one of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) key partners.

The 2011 deal attributed NBC with the US rights to broadcast the four editions of the Games between Sochi 2014 and Tokyo for a total price of $4.38 billion (£3.3 billion/€3.6 billion).

The broadcaster subsequently agreed a $7.65 billion (£5.8 billion/€6.5 billion) deal for US rights all the way through until 2032, in one of the most important commercial agreements in the IOC’s history.

The coronavirus pandemic has continued uncertainty over the Games, following their postponement last year.

The rescheduled Games is due to open on July 23.

"Athletes are the heart of the Olympic movement, and the Opening Ceremony will be a global celebration of their dedication and resilience during their long journey to Tokyo," said Gary Zenkel, President of NBC Olympics.

"The same holds true for the IOC, the Japanese government, and the Tokyo Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, who are navigating unimaginable challenges to provide the athletes with what for so many is a once in a lifetime opportunity to compete on the world’s biggest stage."

NBC says more information about its coverage, including its hosts, digital and streaming plans will be announced at a later date.