NBC’s Olympics Still Suck

Every two years I post something like this. I’ll stop when NBC understands what’s going on. And I’m not the only one who gets annoyed by this, per the Verge.

Here’s the deal. NBC pushes the Olympic airing of the ‘big’ events until primetime US hours. The Olympics are in Russia, which means we’re about 12 hours off Pacific time when it comes to that, so a whole half a day passes between when an event occurs and when NBC deigns to show it.

Why does this piss me off almost as much as calling someone names? Because I want to watch the Olympics!

What I see as ‘prime’ Winter Olympic events are the ones like the Luge, Skeleton, Curling (shut up), and other weirder events, so I generally get to watch them when they air, or not at all. This means it’s all airing overnight for me, and I watch it when I get up… How annoying. But hey, I live 12 hours off, it’s what it is. I accept that one, and highlight reels are my friends. I’ve already watched the guy who fell off his luge and got back on.


So there it is, about eight in the morning in California, and the Opening Ceremonies are happening right then. And the entire USA was blocked from watching it, unless we break the law or use a VPN.

Why? No, seriously. Why?

The theory is that NBC wants to air it when “everyone” will watch it and get better ratings. And better ratings means ‘primetime.’ But what is primetime anymore? Back in the 40s through the 90s, it made a little sense. We didn’t have the ability to watch TV on a phone after all, or even get the news reliably, so if we wanted to catch up on sports we missed in prime time (and believe me, we did), we read the paper. I read the paper every single morning to get my Olympics fix back in the 80s!

But then times changed. An AOL chatroom, or an ICU meetup, had one person in Lillihammer who said “I just say the speedskaters and Johann Olav Koss just swept the long distance events!”

That happened to me. I was DELIGHTED. “What about Bonnie Blair? The American? Did she win gold?” And she had! So when I tuned in that night, with my father and brother and step-mother, we watched and cheered to see her win. The fact of winning isn’t the concern of most of us. The ACT of winning is what we want to see.

Okay… Let me turn this around. The Super Bowl was last weekend. It got the highest ratings ever. Was it tape delayed? No! It was set to air in the afternoon in Pacific, and I’m willing to bet it still got great ratings! Why? Because people want to watch it.

Why not show the Opening Ceremonies on a cable channel (MSNBC? NBC Sports?) that most people get at the ‘real’ time and then air it again at 8pm. That way people can watch real-time if they want, or not!

Do the same with the events! Show ’em all live, on line and on the TV (you have enough channels, NBC), and then show us the highlights at primetime. The best, the worst, the bloopers, and everything that makes good TV. Heck, go an extra step and have the people who watch live VOTE on what’s the best, and then have a half-hour for “Viewer favorites!” around 9pm.

People who don’t want spoilers already avoid the news. The rest of us have the apps on our phones already. Oh here’s an idea, why not see how many people visit your site to get updates or use those apps? Those are the viewers you’re losing because of your shitty coverage, NBC.

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