U.S.A. Basketball faces-off against infomercials

Chris Chase
August 24, 2008

NBC moved heaven and earth to get swimming and gymnastics on live in primetime during the Beijing Olympics. Basketball, meanwhile, gets a timeslot normally reserved for Billy Mays and Facts of Life reruns.

The gold medal final featuring Team USA's lamely-dubbed "Redeem Team" will tip-off at 2:30 a.m. ET tonight, a time which will attract only die-hards and zombie shift employees on the east coast and bar-hoppers in the west. Considering all the fuss that NBC went to in order to get Michael Phelps and Nastia Liukin on live television, you'd have thought they could have worked out a better tip-time for the basketball final.

The 2:30 p.m. start in Beijing was set so the game could end before the Closing Ceremony; but if it had to be early, why didn't NBC pressure the IOC for an 11:00 a.m. Beijing tip so the game could have been aired live at 11:00 p.m. on the east and 8:00 p.m. in the west? (For those who are getting ready to comment that the Olympics shouldn't revolve around the interests of the United States, keep in mind that swimming and gymnastics finals were held in the morning solely because NBC demanded it.)

At least we're getting live coverage of the basketball game here in the States, though. The men's volleyball final, which begins at 12:30 a.m. ET, won't be aired until Sunday evening (17 hours after it begins), despite the fact that every other men's game has been shown live on NBC.

If you're planning on staying up for the U.S./Spain gold medal game, head on over to Ball Don't Lie, which will be live blogging the proceedings.

Photo via Getty Images