By James Hibberd
Updated January 07, 2014 at 12:00 PM EST
Credit: NBC

NBC promises to stream more than 1,000 hours of the Winter Olympics from Sochi.

But not the part that sometimes draws the most viewers.

The broadcaster revealed at a press event Tuesday that the opening ceremony on Friday, Feb. 7 will not be streamed online. Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group, told Variety: “We want to put context to it, with the full pageantry it deserves.”

Real-world translation: We don’t want to do anything that might decrease ratings on the NBC broadcast network. Given NBC spent an estimated $2 billion for rights to broadcast the games in Sochi, a plan that corrals viewers in front of the traditional TV for the event’s kick-off is understandable. And with NBC planing to make every competition available online, it’s tough for streaming fans to gripe too much. Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira and Bob Costas will host the opening. The closing ceremony, the executive added, might be streamed online.