#NBCFail – Olympic Coverage Woes

Nothing really sucks the excitement out of watching an Olympic event than already knowing the outcome before it even starts. Unfortunately, with NBC’s five hour tape delay for many events that is exactly what is happening. SPOILER ALERT — the USA Men’s Swim Team lose the 4×100 Freestyle relay to the French. Also, Jordyn Wieber fails to make the all-around in Women’s Gymnastics and Michael Phelps continues to be overrated this year.

A moment of silence for the victims of the 2005 terror attack on London was cut from the NBC Broadcast of the Opening Ceremonies. Picture above depicts the glowing rings from the Ceremony.

NBC’s coverage of the 2012 London Olympics has been laughably awful, beginning with their heavily edited broadcast of the Opening Ceremonies and continuing with painfully awkward commentary especially in the gymnastics arena. (How about we give Wieber some respect and not zoom in on her while she is crying? Is that too much to ask? She’s an Olympic athlete not a zoo animal.) Not to mention the constant commercials. I think I’ve seen more ads with Ryan Lochte than have actually seen Ryan Lochte

With NBC’s staunch commitment to air the ‘big’ events in Primetime, American viewers are forced to watch contests hours after they have already occurred.  (Usually with stellar commentary. SPOILER ALERT – The swimmer with the fastest time will win the gold.)

The question is “why the delay?”  NBC’s explanation is that Primetime is when most people are available to watch TV and they want to allow folks a chance to see the more exciting events. That’s great! On the surface, it is really thoughtful and I’m sure it has nothing to do with the big companies that advertise during Primetime.

Oh, I went there. Call me skeptical, but I’m fairly certain that NBC is more interested in catering to the corporations that shove money at them than the casual viewer. Yet another instance of the almighty dollar controlling what we see on TV.  NBC’s five-hour tape delay is all an effort to appease the advertisers.

But is it working?

I don’t think so.  Once I learned that the USA Men’s Gymnastics team finished 6th in the team competition, I didn’t bother watching.  I changed the channel which was probably not NBC’s goal. Also, why not air events on Sunday afternoon instead of waiting until Primetime? Maybe they should’ve talked to the NFL and NASCAR because that time slot seems to work wonderfully for them.

And, if you’ve been watching the Olympics and have a Twitter, then you are probably familiar with #NBCFail.

It seems I’m not the only one miffed.

The backlash of the fail in coverage has been harsh, but is NBC listening?  Do they care?

NBC’s response is that many of the events are on live streaming through their website.  Yes, a few are there.  Swimming is not.  Gymnastics are not.  Unless you are passionate about Handball (and actually know the rules), then you are going to be disappointed.

In my opinion, the real losers here are the athletes.  They’ve trained for years and years to make it to a big stage and can only be seen five hours after the fact (or not at all if you are a skeet shooter). Disappointing and disheartening.

Way to sully the Olympic spirit, NBC.

In all fairness, with three different channels showing events, there are some events you can see live.  I’ve watched Women’s Basketball, both Men’s and Women’s Volleyball (beach and indoor), Rowing, Archery and Whitewater Kayaking.  (I did attempt to watch Water Polo but the thought of treading water for all that time made me exhausted.)

If it’s any consolation, from the promos I have seen, the real #NBCFail will be their fall schedule.

Post your #NBCFail moments in the comments below.