No, I Won’t Miss NBC’s Olympic Coverage

It’s been a very very long time since I’ve seen an article on a mainstream website and ripped it to shreds. This one I could not pass up. Yesterday afternoon Yahoo’s Chris Chase wrote a piece on how we will miss NBC’s Olympic coverage should they lose the rights beginning 2014. Looking at the title I gave myself a false hope that it would be a well-reasoned and persuasive argument to force me (and countless others) that there is a good point to be made. Instead, the following was busted out:

For all the network does wrong in televising the Games, it also does a lot right. NBC provides simple, restrained coverage, something that’s a lot harder to do than it sounds. Take Thursday night’s figure-skating competition: The network aired 35 uninterruped minutes of skating with pitch-perfect announcing, a minimum of manufactured drama, no annoying graphics and direction that followed the action, not dictated it.

On another network we may have had meaningless blather from sideline reporters or cluttering, uninformative graphics on the screen. Instead of sticking with a tight camera shot of the skaters after their routines, there could have been countless shots of fans and coaches. (Dictating action, not following.) This sounds like easy stuff, but it’s amazing how many networks get it wrong.

I vehemently disagree. First off, it’s not pitch-perfect announcing when Scott Hamilton is screaming. Not only does this seem to be a clear jab at ESPN — rumored to be the likely Olympics TV hosts if they win the bidding rights — but it’s a weak argument based on 35 minutes worth of figure skating coverage. That doesn’t make up for their appalling two weeks of tape-delays, terrible announcers, and disastrous handling of situations where the curling overran the hockey timeslot.

They chose to ignore sports so we could see Bob Costas fly over the city of Vancouver. When faced with ice dancing and USA/Canada in hockey, NBC shoved the latter to MSNBC because they needed to reach the female demographic. I refuse to give kudos to a network that doesn’t care about the sporting event itself, but the ratings it oh so craves because of their lousy primetime lineup. You want to know how I can qualify this statement? Endless camera shots and promos of Lindsey Vonn, Apolo Ohno, Shaun White, Bode Miller, and Julia Mancuso. Instead of enlightening the viewer about Ghana’s first ever winter Olympian we’re treated to Mary Carillo learning how to be a Canadian mountie. They substituted showing more than 7-8 out of dozens of skiers to illustrate to us what the Olympics WOULD HAVE looked like one thousand years ago with dragons and vikings (huh?).

BUT this is offset by giving figure skating fans uninterrupted coverage for over a half hour. If Chase didn’t point this out to me I would’ve never seen the light. I’m all for opinions for the other side, but this is a feeble effort.

There’s a lot more to talk about now that I’ve been forced to actually watch this monstrosity unlike the past two games, but I’ll leave that for another day, preferrably after the closing ceremonies.

Oh, and USA 5 Canada 2. That’s my gold medal prediction. Good luck to both teams and may the Olympics close with a bang.


10 thoughts on “No, I Won’t Miss NBC’s Olympic Coverage

  1. JG

    Wish you had been right on hockey game.

    I saw that post and reaction was similar to yours. The last winter Olympics I remember ABC doing was 1980. (I dont remember when exactly they lost the rights).
    They would show events live during the day, and then repeat them at night for people who were at work or at school. Al Michaels had to point out they were live today during hockey game.

    Parts of Alaska and Hawaii are same time difference from East Coast as London. So what is going to happen in 2012 or Sochi in 2104 ?. And Rio is at worst probably central time zone (I’m guessing), so much of that would be live.

    And yesterday in the middle of competition, at about 5 pm Eastern, they run some piece on the Sept 11 attacks, whatever connection there was to Vancouver. I was in a restaurant at the time, and some kid who at most was 7 or 8 asked his dad about the Spet 11 attacks. Some genius at NBC decided to show the footage of the planes crashing into the buildings. Did you really need to put that footage on during a Saturday afternoon ? What “news” value was there to that ?

    Granted I’d much rather look at Lindsey Vonn or Julia Mancuso than Costas, Michaels, Lauer or any of the other NBC hosts.

    1. Mookie Post author

      Yeah congratulations to Canada for a great game and a great win.

      NBC threw stuff together and couldn’t have possibly been prepared for these games. I wasn’t alive for the 1980 Olympics but I do remember reading ABC’s story regarding airing live coverage.

      Rio is 2 hours ahead of the east coast, IIRC.

      Hopefully this closing ceremonies is good. I’m bracing for the worst looking at the musical talent lined up.

  2. JFein

    I really enjoy most of the Yahoo! sports blogs (Puck Daddy and Big League Stew are two of the best league-wide blogs for their respective sports out there), but Chris Chase is beyond awful. He threw up a picture of Nodar Kumaritashvil in midair, a split second before he was to smack a steal pole, multiple times. He was put in charge of so much that he does not really know the sports he is supposed to be covering rather in depth and it comes off that way. Now he has done a complete flip-flop on NBC as he was bashing them like no tomorrow, most notably on an On the DL Podcast episode on February 18 and in this post where he says that we had it good, he only cites 35 minutes of figure skating, nothing more and nothing less.

    It is quite clear that he cares more about hit count and generating controversy and discussion topics, even if they are of him and not the games, rather than giving the readers actual coverage of what is happening. The others at FPM have been fine, but Chris Chase is terrible.

    1. Mookie Post author

      I’m going to edit your post in a bit because your second sentence was the longest in history. ;-)

      I remember Chase criticizing NBC so he must have had a dramatic change of heart when he saw the figure skating. The entire article was a mess.

  3. kt1000

    Speaking of NBC, did you enjoy your 5 seconds of The Marriage Ref?

    Seriously though, if ESPN gets the rights for Sochi, you’re going to see most of the event analysts go work there. The only place ESPN will make announcer changes are the play by play guys and hosts for the event. Really, who can’t wait for Mr Back-Back-Back to host the whole thing?

    1. Mookie Post author

      I fell asleep one hour before the broadcast. I’ll give it a shot on….whatever timeslot it’s currently airing before erasing it from my mind.


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