Once again, it’s time for one of America’s favorite biennial sports: Dog-pile on NBC for their coverage/lack of coverage of the Olympiad.
This year, I’m not participating.
Usually—and especially since our cable provider dumped the CBC/CBUT feed from Canada and we became even more dependent on NBC’s coverage—I’m a big participant in this sport. What would you expect from someone who’s favorite sports are fencing, curling, and equestrian? These sports never get full coverage on American TV; often an entire fencing tournament will be reduced to a one-minute recap during primetime—I mean, fencing fast but it’s not that fast. Curling has been getting a better shake in recent Olympiads, but only if the Americans have a fighting chance.
I understand that there’s only so many hours in a day, and fewer hours in a broadcast day, and that differences in time-zones puts live coverage at inconvenient times. And these days, with doofus sports like synchronized diving (I know it’s hard, and I appreciate the athleticism, but the Olympics are becoming like those TV award shows with categories like “Best Comedy airing between 4-7pm”…I mean, what’s next? Folf?), there are just too many sports to cram into even four channels, much less into a single primetime broadcast. Still, despite my most generous efforts, I could never help but feel cheated by the lack of attention my favorites get.
Not so, this year. This is the year that multimedia and alternate platforms hit the Olympics, big time.
With the combination of broadcast coverage, basic cable channels, dedicated sports channels (soccer and basketball), website information, and streaming video (live and replay) on almost any device you care to mention, NBC has done a stupendous job. Room for improvement? Sure. Like when the listing for a replay says “Women’s Group B: Algeria at Russia” and neglects to tell you what sport! Kinda basic, no? But yesterday I could have watched over 11 hours of equestrian coverage (6 hours of cross-country and 5+ hours of jumping). I have been able to follow my favorite team (Italy’s Women’s Volleyball) and see every set in every match. I was able to watch entire matches in sabre, epee, and foil, all thanks to streaming media via NBC’s “Live” app (somewhat of a misnomer, as most of the content is replay).
True, most of the content I watch is not live coverage but be honest. Am I really going to get up at 2:45am to watch a match, even if Valentina Arrighetti is playing? Um, no, I am decidedly not going to do that. And most of the content we see in primetime is delayed/replayed, anyway, especially for us here on the West Coast.
So I say “Gentlemen, Hats off!” to NBC. Perfect? No. But a damned sight better than it’s been in recent Olympiads.
PS. I still think Bob Costas is a vain, pompous windbag who requires that they put silk on the camera to hide his ever-increasing squidginess. Is it me, or is he sounding more and more like Captain Kirk? –k