If It’s Not Phelps, NBC Coverage Lacks
Allow me to use one of the most understated statements I’ve read concerning NBC’s coverage of the Olympics, from USA Today’s Michael Hiestand:
Yes, the rule of Olympic TV is saving the marquee stuff — no matter when it happened in real time — for late in prime time to keep viewers hanging around. But NBC airing the world’s-fastest-man 100 meters at about 11:30 p.m. ET — more than 12 hours after it was run — was too late, especially since Usain Bolt set a world record.
It was more than just “too late” on NBC’s part — not showing Bolt’s incredible, breath-taking sprint was borderline criminal. What’s more, does this mean we would not have seen Tyson Gay if he was healthy enough to race and somehow beat the Jamaican phenom until 12 hours after the fact as well? If so, how does that qualify as a “smart decision?” I understand more people watch at night than during the morning — but that doesn’t excuse having to wait 12 hours to see history being made either.
Why not show it live when the event happens then replay it again for the prime time crowd? Is that too much to ask from the Peacock’s programming directors? The fact is, most of the sports-savvy crowd was well aware of Bolt’s incredible run long before NBC showed the footage — even NBC’s Olympic site had the results posted as soon as the race was over; which brings up the following question:
In these days of ESPN, the Internet (including NBCOlympics.com) and the billion-plus sports blogs up and working, isn’t it mighty presumptuous of NBC to ask their viewing audience to remain spoiler-free about certain results while expecting the more savvy sports viewer to ignore these resources as well?