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2012 Ironman World Championship: NBC to televise race Saturday

Thanks in part to Lance Armstrong, NBC's coverage of the Ironman World Championship -- set for Saturday at 4 p.m. ET -- is 30 minutes longer and six weeks earlier.

Quinn Rooney

NBC will air the 2012 Ironman World Championship in a two-hour special to air Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. The news was originally reported back in June, but the time was only recently confirmed.

The October 27 air date is earlier than usual -- typically, NBC airs the packaged, tape-delayed event in December. But for 2012, not only did they bump up the airing six weeks earlier, they extended it by 30 minutes. So was the effect of having Lance Armstrong trying to qualify for the Ironman in Kona.

In fact, in February, Andrew Messick, CEO of the World Triathlon Corporation, was originally hoping to get the Ironman broadcast live.

"We want to investigate opportunities to be able to potentially put parts of the race live, something that has never been done in the U.S.," Messick said in an interview yesterday in San Diego, California, where he is attending the Triathlon America Business of Triathlon conference. "Lance brings a spotlight to our sport that's brighter perhaps than anything that has ever happened."

Armstrong was performing well in his 70.3-distance races, but then the USADA ruling and ban came out just before he was to race Ironman France, making him ineligible for USTA races, including the Ironman World Championship.