I often half-joke that complaining is the first and ultimate love of the casual American sports fan. There is no such thing as a sports fan in this country being happy all of the time. We complain about our teams when they win, complain when they lose, and complain about announcers calling games on TV and/or radio. If you're a die hard sports fan who visits sports websites or watches sports-related TV on a daily basis, it's a safe bet that you whine about something roughly 300 days a year; and that might actually be a generous estimate.
Those of you who noticed the title of this post can probably guess where I'm going here. The major thing that has irked individuals watching the 2012 Summer Olympics via the NBC family of networks is that much of the action is, as usual during any Olympics, being shown via tape-delay. Depending on where you live, you may have found out about Ryan Lochte winning Olympic gold on Saturday night five, six or possibly even eight hours before his race aired on NBC.
I'm going to be direct. Get used to seeing "old" footage during any Olympics, because these tape-delayed broadcasts aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Over 40 million viewers watched the 2012 London opening ceremony, an event that did not air live anywhere in this country, on NBC. That's more than the amount of people who watched the first night of the 1996 Summer Olympics, which were held in Atlanta. The first night of competition provided NBC with the highest TV ratings "for the first night of competition for a non-U.S. Summer Olympics ever."
NBC, like all networks, gets more ad revenue for prime time programming that brings in big viewers. Companies aren't forced to spend over $1 million for a 30-second Super Bowl commercial just because the NFL is greedy. Network execs understand that millions upon millions of eyes will be glued to TVs over the next two weeks, and thus NBC is cashing in. There's no way of knowing for sure, but I imagine the scene at NBC headquarters on Monday morning will look something like this.
I do understand people being slightly bummed to have certain events "spoiled" for them because of Twitter, Facebook, sports websites and even friends and family members. What I find particularly hilarious about this whole subject is that the people making so much noise about NBC showing Olympic events via tape-delay are still watching come nighttime. This, of course, leads to the network getting great ratings, making more money and having absolutely zero reason to change the way the Olympics are presented.
The "it's 2012, of course we're going to find out results as soon as they happen" crowd would do well to remember that it is indeed 2012, and thus there are many, many ways to watch the Olympics live. I won't post such links here for obvious reasons, but a simple "How to watch London Summer Olympics online" Internet search will provide you with more options than you'll need, websites that surprisingly won't dump a boatload of malware onto your computer. Those of you with multiple mobile video devices and also a TV service provider that carries CNBC, MSNBC and NBC Sports could, in theory, watch every "medal event" live.
Ain't technology great?
All of us in this country could force NBC to air more live events by doing one simple thing: Not changing the station to NBC once the network's prime time Olympic coverage begins. That's not going to happen, though. Americans can't get enough of the Olympics, a fact that's been proven by this weekend's TV ratings. We love the competitions, the pageantry and all of the drama that will be delivered to us over the next two weeks. Face it: We're all going to keep watching regardless of when the events actually occur.
As for me, I have little problem with what I've thus far seen over the first couple of days of the 2012 Olympics. Starting this past Wednesday, I've witnessed multiple live soccer games, some live basketball, live water polo, live archery, live table tennis, live boxing, live volleyball, live beach volleyball, live field hockey, and other events that I can't even think of at this particular moment. I've even managed to avoid spoilers for most events without much effort. For all I've enjoyed since even before the opening ceremony aired in the States, I want to send out a "Thanks" to those at NBC for their hard work;
and also congrats on your success.