Well, we tried.
After we tuned in with the whole family at 1:30 ET to watch the most exciting event of the Olympic Games (the Men’s Downhill), after we realised, to our shock and dismay, that NBC was taping the event to show in primetime even though today is a national holiday, after we cursed Jeff Zucker, Dick Ebersol, & Co. and tried to figure out some way to explain to our bewildered kids that, yes, the Downhill was taking place as planned, but, no, NBC wasn’t showing it because…well, because of money, presumably… after we switched off the stupid Snowboard Cross Time Trials that were taking the Downhill’s place, and after we spent the afternoon doing something more enjoyable than watching irrelevant time trials or NBC tape delays (cleaning the house), we did, actually, try to avoid all media and communications devices the rest of the afternoon in order to preserve some tiny amount of suspense for this evening’s Downhill broadcast.
But then, when we sat down at 7:45 ET, we made the mistake of flipping open the computer, and, now, thanks to Twitter and half-a-dozen general interest web sites, we know who won the Downhill and who finished third. So now the stupid broadcast will be a snooze.
And, yes, we’ll watch some of it anyway, which is no doubt what NBC is counting on. But we promise you this. We are going to be cursing NBC all night and for the rest of the Olympics. And in the hope of appealing to something NBC does apparently care about, we’re also going to be cursing NBC’s advertisers.
Coke? Screw you. We hold you responsible for this, too.
VISA? Go to hell.
P&G? We’ll do everything we can to avoid buying Tide for these two weeks.
What NBC Sports apparently doesn’t understand (because it has done this to us before, again and again) is that we don’t care who is televising the Olympics.
We don’t want to watch NBC’s “Olympics show”. We want to watch The Olympics. And like every other connected sports fan on the planet these days, we know exactly when the Olympics is taking place and what’s happening there–in real time.
So, right now, for us, NBC isn’t the network that brings us the Olympics. It’s the network that prevents us from watching the Olympics. And we hate NBC for that.
(Another thing we know from Twitter is how many Americans feel the same way we do. A company that cared about its long-term survival might want to pay attention to that.)
Addendum: OK, look, here’s another thing that really chaps me about NBC’s coverage: It’s still “one size fits all.” A bit of Snowboard Cross for the young folks, a bit of Downhill for the older folks, a bit of figure skating for the GP, long football-commentator digressions on the 9 hundredths of a second differential between Gold and Bronze in the downhill they didn’t show for those who don’t actually like events, polar bear documentaries for the folks who don’t like sports, etc.
It’s as if they haven’t realised that it’s not still 1976.
In THOSE days, there really was only one option. You really WOULDN’T know who won all the events until the next morning (I actually didn’t know that Franz Klammer had won the downhill that year, and I’ll never forget the excitement of watching him win it, even though it had happened half a day earlier). They could tape-delay it and you might actually be in suspense. And there weren’t 500 other channels plus the millions on the Internet that they could use to split the rights up for folks with different interests.
If no one else cares about watching the events on tape delay, then why not show them live on CNBC during the day and then on tape delay AGAIN at night? By NBC’s logic, if you don’t watch the CNBC broadcast during the day, the event hasn’t happened. So what are they hurting?
I’m sorry. This is the Olympics, for goodness’ sake. They can’t show the Men’s Downhill live at 1:30PM on a holiday but they have time for primetime POLAR BEAR documentaries?
Give me a break.
(Dick Ebersol isn’t watching this on tape-delay, I can assure you of that. Neither is Jeff Zucker.)
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