Grade NBC's coverage of the Beijing Olympics

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Brolan, Aug 25, 2008.


Grade NBC's coverage of the Beijing Olympic games

Poll closed Sep 8, 2008.
  1. A

    2 vote(s)
  2. B

    6 vote(s)
  3. C

    8 vote(s)
  4. D

    12 vote(s)
  5. F

    9 vote(s)
  1. Brolan

    Brolan Commodore Commodore

    Jul 1, 2002
    With the French nation
    My grade is: F NBC continues to refuse to recognize that the world has changed. In a world of instant Internet news and streaming video doing a tape delay of events is simply not acceptable.

    How did NBC fill most of its airtime? When were weren’t being subject to an endless series of the same commercials shown over and over again we had to endure an endless series of “warm and fuzzy” profiles on the athletes. It’s really amazing we actually saw any competition at all.

    We also saw the standard NBC US-centric, almost jingoistic coverage of the games. Only sports that the US had medal hopes for were shown. We were treated to endless coverage of beach volleyball because the US dominated both the men and women’s competition while other sports were ignored.

    I remember in one women’s medal ceremony the silver medal winner was an American, the gold medal winner was not shown or even had her name mentioned during the entire ceremony.

    I had pondered giving them a D for the limited live coverage they provided, but then they committed the ultimate sin to people living on the US West coast. NBC refused to allow them to see the last Michael Phelps race live. Goat herders in Morocco could watch the US swimmer try for a record 8th gold medal live but people in Los Angeles could not.
  2. Daedalus12

    Daedalus12 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Oct 9, 2002
    Transatlantic Flights

    From Bob Costa's bad puns to incompetent color commentators. Well it would've been a F except the Men's basketball coverage was very good. NBC brought back the NBA on NBC tune and Doug Collins was excellent in commenting.
  3. The Grinch Doctor

    The Grinch Doctor Two hearts two sizes too small Premium Member

    Jul 20, 2000
    Absolutely hideous. Between the incredibly excessive US-centric bullshit (both visual and commentary), the Phelps worshiping, commercial breaks in the middle of longer swimming races (something they would not have done if Phelps was in them), and general lopsided focus of sports, almost always focusing on the US domination, I found myself pretty much disgusted with NBC by the end of the two weeks. The only good deed they did was no commercials during the Women's and Men's Beach Volleyball finals.
  4. Small White Car

    Small White Car Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Oct 3, 2001
    Washington D.C.
    I always assumed this is the way it worked in every country. Why wouldn't it? Isn't this normal?

    I have no idea, but I find this complaint odd. Isn't this what should be expected?
  5. Coloratura

    Coloratura You Are Loved Premium Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    I watch to see athletes compete, not see the U.S. dominate everything. I love it when a U.S. athlete wins, but I wanted to see more than that. NBC didn't deliver, and they failed in other areas as well. As mentioned above, commercials in the middle of competitions, particularly swimming.

    My grade: D.

    It would have been an F without the NBA game at the end.

  6. Nobody

    Nobody Commodore Commodore

    Jan 13, 2000
    I'm able to get both the CBC and NBC's coverage and the gains, and while the US-centric coverage annoys me -- it is the same for CBC with their Canadian-centric coverage. From what I've read and heard, it's the same in other countries as well. This makes business sense, even if it is annoying.

    I give NBC a D, their coverage was annoying, very few live events in prime-time and USA, MSNBC and CNBC were not well utilized. The ultimate sin, as previously mentioned, is not airing the Phelps' race live on the west coast. Their excuse? To do so would air it at an inconvenient time for people on the west coast -- 7:30pm is inconvenient for TV watching? This is a sporting event not The Office, the thrill is watching them live and seeing if the athletes will succeed not seeing how they did it. That decision will go down as one of the all-time sports-broadcast blunders. Like EMH, the only saving grace for me is the commercial free beach volleyball finals.

    ABC/ESPN is planning to bid for the next olympics, say what you will about their over-the-top sports coverage -- at least they know how to cover a sporting event. I hope they do bid and win.

  7. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Nov 14, 2003
    An Aussie in Canukistan
    It's gotta say something - the same critisms that the OP has of the NBC could so easliy be applied to the coverage in Australia by ch7.

    the montages, the repeats, the jingoism, the delays, the time wasting (I read of one one person who PVR'd 7 hours worth of coverage which after skipping the ads, the studio hosts, the dribbble, the montages the actually events were amounted to 2hrs).

    Does NBC have the rights for the London Games?
  8. The Grinch Doctor

    The Grinch Doctor Two hearts two sizes too small Premium Member

    Jul 20, 2000
    When I say that, I mean the focus on a particular athlete who isn't even in the running, so to speak, whether it's marathon, track & field, rowing, trap, fencing, swimming, diving, or whatever. I don't think it's too much to ask to have coverage focusing on the top athletes only and not just whatever position the Americans are on.

    Additionally, a problem I saw a lot was when an American wins, the silver and bronze medalist (or just the bronze medalist when it's a close race between the first two, or even just silver if the gold and bronze medalists are American) get completely shafted in commentary. Too often I noticed "This person and/or this person XYZ, oh, and side note (just before we go to commercials despite talking about the other(s) for five minutes), this person took this medal." A bit of an exaggeration, but hopefully you see what I mean.
  9. Spot's Meow

    Spot's Meow Spot's Meow Premium Member

    Jul 1, 2004
    Hotel California
    D, though now that I think about it I should have probably given them an F.

    So many things wrong...where to begin? There was too many heartwarming/cultural stories. Way too much obsession with Michael Phelps and Shawn Johnson. Not only did other countries get pushed aside, but in many cases (especially gymnastics) they barely paid any attention to some of the Americans. They dismissed one of the men gymnasts as "not even supposed to be here because he was an alternate" and didn't even show some of his routines even though he competed more often than the other men's gymnasts they were so fond of.

    They did an awful job of advertising when and what channel events would be on. The primetime coverage was awful because it was so choppy. They would show 10 minutes of volleyball, go to track, then gymnastics, back to volleyball, one swimming race, etc. This was frustrating for someone like me who only wanted to watch gymnastics that night. It's not like a lot of this footage they were showing us was live anyway, so why couldn't they clump all track together, all volleyball together, etc.

    They underused their other channels. They would show a couple of hours of coverage on MSNBC or Oxygen a day, and that was it. They should have been showing us live footage all day long on many of those channels. They were only playing repeats or paid programming anyway.

    And now to the big problem I had. The two big sports everyone wanted to see live (gymnastics and swimming) were on way too late. Some nights it didn't end until 2 AM. So I ended up having to record it and watch it the next day after work. I accept that the times won't always match up well when you're halfway across the world. Except that I'm on the West coast, where we could have gotten this footage earlier in the evening. Why the hell they delayed it for us I will never know. Wouldn't they want to make sure their prized swimming and gymnastics are shown starting at 7 PM out here? I would think that would get a lot more viewers than 10 PM. It sucks that the East coast had to view it that late, but why would they want us too as well?!

    And then there's this whole controversy about the U.S. making China move swimming to the morning so that we could watch it in primetime. That turned out to be pretty useless since we had to stay up until 2 AM to see it anyway. I would have rather had China do it when they wanted and then shown it live here for those people willing/able to watch it at that time, and then shown it again in primetime. It seems like they went to a lot of trouble to achieve something useless.

    Not enough live coverage of any sport, period. Should have been live on both coasts. I try not to get too upset when shows that should be live (like season finales announcing winners or awards shows) are delayed for the West coast, but in this case it really irks me because it was just so pointless and idiotic.

    Some of the announcers would actually tell you what was going to happen before it did, since it wasn't live. I remember watching gymnastics and hearing the guy say, "And in just a minute she's going to fall off the bar, it will be a huge mistake for her!" WTF?!

    I'm sure there's plenty of other problems I'm forgetting.
  10. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Oct 30, 1999
    They gotta give people what they want. Just look at the fans at the events, they're maniacally jingoistic. ;) The Olympics encourages that sort of thing.

    I gave NBC a C because I taped the whole thing in the late-night repeat so I could zap the interminable ads, interminable yak yak yak about the athlete's deprived childhoods and even more interminable beach volleyball, and the whole thing came off so much better than way. I guess any sport that has chicks wearing bikinis is going to be popular. :lol:
  11. The Grinch Doctor

    The Grinch Doctor Two hearts two sizes too small Premium Member

    Jul 20, 2000
    That drove me batty and reminds me of another issue I had: Finding a definitive schedule. I spent an hour last week trying to find a televised schedule for Beach Volleyball to no avail. Oh, sure, I could the times of when the games actually were played in Beijing, but that didn't do any good because none of the games were shown live until the tournament and only for Misti May and Kerri Walsh (and while I love those two, I wanted to see more of the other teams). The site is a mess in trying to find any kind of definitive schedule beyond a 5+ hour blocks consisting 5+ events. :rolleyes:

    This also drove me crazy. Additionally, USA only did late night coverage and CNBC only ever covered boxing in the afternoon. NBC only did full afternoon coverage on the weekends (only doing 10am to 1pm on the weekdays along with prime time). What a waste.

    Ah, yes, I had forgotten about that. Even when people complained about this issue, NBC refused to budge. Idiots. :rolleyes:
  12. PlixTixiplik

    PlixTixiplik Commodore Commodore

    Jan 26, 2006
    Banana Slug Land
    I'm really ticked off by the lack of live coverage as well. In particular the men's 200 m (track). It was on at 7:20 AM pacific, I believe, so I figured I could watch it before I left for work. But MSNBC was showing Greece-Ukraine basketball and USA was showing boxing or something, and the other networks had nothing. I knew it would be impossible to avoid spoilers for the whole day, so I figured I would watch it at their website - since they advertised all this streaming live coverage. But they didn't even have online video either! The live stuff I did see was fine - I could watch the road and track cycling, albeit without audio commentary.

    As for the jingoistic coverage, it was much improved since '96 and I wouldn't say it was over the top. They aired plenty of events even in prime time where the US had no medal chances - diving, for example. They aired the entire men's marathon in prime time, which I was quite pleased with. Sure, they would periodically update the progress of the US guy running in 17th place or whatever, but it wasn't that intrusive. I saw canoe/kayak this weekend on the regular NBC coverage too, and the US didn't even have anyone in many of those races.

    In terms of commentators, most were generally good. Ato Boldon was a good addition to track and field, and the woman who did diving analysis was really excellent. Most of the time she could predict the scores beforehand (and was spot on!) and did a great job of pointing out the good things and mistakes in each dive.

    I'd probably give it a C, because of the lack of live coverage was a big deal.

  13. Jack Bauer

    Jack Bauer Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jul 12, 1999
    Jack Bauer
    The reporter who talked to the atheletes after the track events sucked. His questions were quite lame.
  14. The Grinch Doctor

    The Grinch Doctor Two hearts two sizes too small Premium Member

    Jul 20, 2000
    At best. Other times his questions were insensitive and stupid.
  15. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

    Mar 14, 2000
    I didn't hear anything good about NBC's coverage but I doubt it could have been as bad as channel 7's here. They're as rabidly jingoistic as any other network out there, the montages were excruciatingly dull and repeated endlessly, the commentators were utterly pathetic, and they had the audacity to compare themselves to the athletes after the closing ceremony. :wtf: :rolleyes: I'd rate their coverage about a Z.
  16. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Feb 19, 2001
    Birmingham, AL
    The track question guy got on my nerves. Whoever is doing most of the studio work is also boring as crap.

    I'll give them a C.
  17. Gepard

    Gepard Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 20, 2007
    Ow. :wtf:

    I didn't pay much attention to most of the events, and the constant removal of chunks of the opening ceremonies when they went to commercials was annoying (it's on tape delay! Just come back where you left off!), but aside from the lack of coverage of diverse or interesting sports, having a zillion channels to see the events on was rather nice--helped create a sort of immersive feel, like there was something going on all the time. That helped make up for the tape delays and odd selection of events. So, C.
  18. Squiggy

    Squiggy FrozenToad Admiral

    Jul 5, 2006
    Left Bank
    It worked for them, as they got the highest ratings for an Olympics since Atlanta. Would you have liked to see gymnastics at 11am?
  19. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

    Oct 31, 2000
    On my ship the Rocinante
    It could have been better, but then such is always the case. I'm just thankful I got to watch the Games at all. There were an awful lot of people around the world who couldn't see any of them whatsoever.

    My only real complaint is that I would have enjoyed seeing more of the other nations competing. The fact that NBC's programming was centered upon American athletes didn't really bother me ... and it had nothing to do with being American. That's just the way I assume it'd be in any country with coverage - their stations would focus on athletes from that nation first, and the others afterwards. [​IMG]

    The live vs delayed debate is one NBC cannot possibly win, no matter how they choose. To go with a delay and ignore the results is kind of silly, because of the Internet's ability to reach across timezones with results. On the other hand, go with completely live and your viewers miss so much altogether.

    Like I said... I'm just thankful I had the chance to see any of it.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008
  20. Apogeal Alpha01

    Apogeal Alpha01 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Dec 9, 2004
    I have to conclude that I must be jingoistic. I loved the coverage, and loved seeing my countrymen and women, American athletes, compete against athletes from around the world. The idea that I didn't see people of other countries compete is, alien. From what other perspective would you cover an event like this? Yeah, I was rooting for my folks, but I was still awed by the Chinese, the Australians, the Brits, Russians, Spanish, Jamaicans, and all the rest who put on phenomenal performances.

    One of two gripes would be over emphasis on an athletes personal story because he or she happened to win. Though, to be fair, what could I expect when Phelps brings his total medals up to 11 winning every race he competes in, sometimes in world record time, and we have American gymnasts taking the all-around gold and silver medals? And frankly, Shawn was darling! Wasn't she?! The other, showing popular sports like the basketball gold medal game in the middle of the night. Let the rest of the world stay up late at night! :p Jk!

    Another good thing was NBC's online content. Plenty of high definition replay of events I had to miss. That's where I watched some of the basketball games I missed.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008