Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Got Olympic fever yet?

I haven't watched much of NBC's Winter Olympics coverage yet (even with many of my regular shows either pre-empted or in reruns, I'd rather devote the spare viewing time to screeners of upcoming things than in watching pairs figure skating), but the ratings have been huge so far.

For those of you who've been watching so far - either NBC in primetime or the cable channels during the day - what have you thought of the coverage? Are there things NBC is doing noticeably better than at some other recent Olympics? New (or continued) sources of frustration? Have they done a good job of warning you when certain events are tape-delayed, or have you accidentally spoiled yourself on results?

Just curious. I did get sucked into USA's curling coverage this afternoon (I'm a sucker for any sport that involves elements of housecleaning), but there's no real way to dress up curling, is there?


George said...

NBC's egregious lack of any online streaming other than hockey and curling is inexcusable. CTV in Canada has put EVERY SINGLE THING online - LIVE. It airs EVERY SINGLE THING on tv - LIVE. Sunday's Canadian men's moguls win was shown 30 minutes or so after it happened (and that came after they showed us how the Americans all wiped out too). Same with the Downhill yesterday - it was in the middle of the day. NBC's site blogged about it and had it as a headline. Not one clip was shown until the evening.

They can whine about losing 200-300 million on it for overbidding, but in this day and age of instant access online, they better show the goods when they happen. I don't care for Costas' face and padding.

No wonder the network is failing miserably.

chrisis said...

Europeans can also watch every single event live on the specially created website of the EBU (European Broadcasting Union), either the original, uncommented stream, or watch the feed of any of the member channels of the EBU.

Taleena said...

the time delay is frustrating. I live spitting distance from Vancouver and can't watch it live. Worse, I've had to unsubscribe to twitter feeds to not be spoiled. Boo NBC boo.

Tyler said...

As a Canadian I've got absolutely no complaints about the coverage up here. Not only can you see everything online, on TV there are at least 2 and often 4 Canadian channels showing live action. Typically my feelings towards our Canadian networks are VERY negative, but they've done a great job with the Olympics.

Alyssa said...

Last night, in the midst of some very entertaining live events (which I was streaming online in ways that are probably frowned upon), NBC decided to air a segment about polar bears. Not a quick minute-long piece, but a serious 10-minute or so spot. Furthermore, polar bears are not found around Vancouver (at least, I don't think so, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). I will watch the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet if I want to learn about polar bears. When I tune into Olympic coverage (as I have been doing non-stop, because I love the Olympics), I want to watch SPORTS.

Also, I agree with what has already been said about the lack of content online, and would add that it's tough to watch some of the content anyway, without installing more software/add-ons.

Kate said...

My best friend is an Olympics nut (I've caught the bug from her just a little, truthfully), and she was telling me she was REALLY frustrated this afternoon by the NBC website. She forgot to set her Tivo to tape the mid-day coverage of curling (her secret favorite), and it couldn't be set remotely, so she tried to watch it online. Apparently it was a "premium" event, which required her to "log in" somehow using her cable information....which she doesn't have because she is not the bill-payer of the household. I haven't personally used it, but it seems like a stupid system. I've never cared much for NBC's video system anyway, I refuse to watch anything on their website that can be accessed through Hulu instead.

Snipes said...

I could care less about the Olympics, it's bad enough it preempts my favorite NBC shows, but it preempts all my other shows too, accept LOST.

CrazyCris said...

Damn the TV Olimpic coverage! Why did all the channels have to take a 2-week hiatus? There's nothing to watch!!! (other than the CW)

Thank heavens for the books piled up on my nightstand...

Indeed said...

Canadian Olympic coverage has been very thorough as others have already noted, as it should be for the host country! To be fair, it was just as thorough (and live!) for Beijing in 2008. We are used ot seeing our Olympics live.
The other great thing that a lot of cable companies up here are doing is putting various events up on their on-demand platforms about 24 hours after the live event. So if you missed it and really want to catch up even if you know the results - it's there.
I'm curious if this is happening in the US?

Unknown said...

Since I'm mostly a casual viewer I don't mind if they show tape delayed things. If it means that I get to see the relevant portions of an event reasonably together (of course NBC thinks all Americans are relevant even when there is no chance they'll medal) in one night of programming I could care less if certain events are delayed within the coverage. Of course being on the east coast makes it a lot easier to avoid spoilers also.

BigTed said...

Even the "live" stuff is time-delayed on the West Coast. Which means that, as with many awards shows, "Jimmy Kimmel," and various other live events, things that are actually taking place in Pacific Time (which is Vancouver's time zone) aren't aired here till three hours later. (And Dick Ebersol has, infuriatingly, claimed we want it that way.)

Most of the winter events aren't that interesting anyway, and the only thing that would make them worthwhile is the sense that we're seeing them in real time. Instead, I've been using this week to work through my DVR playlist.

Anonymous said...

I liked Alan's comment about curling. It echoes the Simpsons episode from last week that had Homer and Marge loving curling because it combines two of their favorite activities - bowling and housework (sweeping).

Wes Covington said...

NBC has told us that it knows better when it comes to the Olympics.

Dissent is not appreciated. Dick Ebersol won't allow it.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind the tape delay, I just mind that I never really know when things are going to air. I guess it's a way to keep people watching the stuff they don't want to watch, but it's a pain that I have to tape four-hour blocks and then try and scan for the stuff I want to see (moguls, snowboarding, downhill).

Billiam said...

I'm not interested in the Olympics, but it's actually a bit nice to have less new shows to watch, since I finally have time to watch the Supernatural and BSG DVDs that I've been meaning to watch.

A woman in the PNW said...

I'm another person who lives in the same time zone as Vancouver who does not appreciate the 3-hr delay.

And NBC keeps being annoying, going on and on about Canada's first gold on home soil, Apolo Ono, etc. Those "human interest" stories they do--usually narrated by Jimmy Roberts or Al Troutwig, UGH--drive me batty. Show us new sports content, not this crap.

ithor6 said...

I haven't tried it myself this Olympics, yet, but I'm already disappointed in the online coverage by some of the comments here. I remember for Beijing I watched all kinds of crazy stuff online, badminton, volleyball, trampoline, fencing, etc.

I am an Olympics nut so I'm in heaven right now. However, I do wish the coverage wouldn't focus so much on the Americans. Of course I'm rooting for my home country, but even when the United States wasn't even hoping for a medal they show them not doing well and then gloss over everybody else except the people that do medal.

Men's downhill was very frustrating last night. I'm a skier and I enjoy watching the skiing events. Last night all we saw were the Americans, the other two guys who medaled, one Swiss guy who was suppose to be great but didn't do well, and a Canadian who wiped out. That's out of 64 skiers.

The human interest stories are cool, especially when they're about non-Americans (because we've already heard the American stories a million times now), but they are too long. The commercials already take up a huge chunk of time, I want to see more sports!

So overall I suppose NBC is doing kind of 'meh' right now. Not great, not bad, it's just there and I'm going to watch it because I love the Olympics. Also, curling rules! I wish I could watch more often than just every 4 years.

Patrick said...

Of course, this is the way NBC Olympics coverage has always been done, but every two years its worthwhile to trot out the usual complaints, because they always still apply. We used to get Canadian coverage here, so I was at least satisfied, but this year we lost that so I must settle for NBC.

I'll give 'em this- they know how to produce a "pump you up" montage. Something about the pounding music and very important sounding voice makes me giddy every time. Shoot, I was even smiling through the doofy one before the opening ceremonies about the US-Canada border relationship.

But then they ruined it by actually showing the footage of Nodar Kumaritišvili's fatal crash. Multiple times. Not cool, NBC, not cool. Did the Canadian channel show it? Because I was extraordinarily disturbed by the heartlessness in the decision to show it.

Jackie said...

I'm a figure skating fan, so the NBC networks' limited coverage is quite annoying for me, and don't even get me started on the commentators they use for the sport. Blech! Tons of 'ohh' and 'ahh' and next to no Dick Button! The man is a legend and a treasure for US figure skating, so why not ask for his expertise and dry wit during the events themselves?!

And back to the coverage itself--why, with all the televisual and online venues they have at their disposal, do they limit it to the top 10-ish competitors and not air some kind of unedited live stream or something similar online or on another cable channel. They can show the big stuff in primetime, sure, but I'd like to see all of the skaters. I know there are several Canadian channels that air the skating events in or nearly in their entirety and that European viewers get better coverage from the likes of Euro Sport and actually have the ability to watch live online streams--whereas we US viewers are limited (legally) to what NBC deigns to show in edited packages on their Olympics website.

Kate said...

I don't really care about the Olympics, especially the winter games, but I am looking forward to watching Johnny Weir skate tonight and Thursday because I've loved watching him on Sundance's 'Be Good Johnny Weir.'

Mario said...

Tough race to say who's doing a worse job:

A) Vancouver
- Unsafe luge track
- Torch doesn't work in opening ceremony
- Can't make ice at the speed skating track
- Cancelling $50 tickets to snowboarding events and offering people $125 tickets if they want to actually attend

- Bumping US-Canada hockey for a quasi-sport (ice dancing)
- Jumping from event to event with no idea when they'll return to what you were watching
- The usual tripe and "human interest" stories instead of events
- Today, day 4, being the first day when two different channels have broadcast events during the day).
- Ending PRIMETIME coverage at MIDNIGHT! Are you kidding?? Events which occurred during the day I have to stay up until midnight in order to watch?

No wonder everyone involved is losing hundreds of millions of dollars.

Greg said...

There are events that I would watch live that I have no interest in watching on tape delay. So, I've basically watched nothing.

TheGamblurr said...

@ Patrick: In Canada on CTV they did air the luge tragedy; only once and not before a very blatant and strong disclaimer about the content...i wanted to know exactly how the accident could've happened but having seen it, i know i'll never get that out of my mind, so heartbreaking, the one airing was more than enough.

@ Tyler: That's hitting the nail on the head.

I'd be crazy to pass up CTV's coverage for NBC's, especially since they made the atrocious error of confusing Terry Fox with Michael J. Fox....ugh.

Charlotte K said...

I missed the last two winter Olympics because I'd gotten tired of the endless blathering overtalk and the exclusion of all but Americans in coverage. But they are doing a far better job than I recall; I have actually seen some events with seemingly no Americans at all, or so far down the pack they don't show them. Man oh man the HD is spectacular!

Yes, more coverage of more events, and EVERYTHING on the website would be smart.

Stellar Drift said...

To answer the subject: No i haven't got Olympic fever, and I'm unlikely to get it - I would count the days until its over if i knew how long it would last!

Anonymous said...

Curling is oddly fascinating.

I'm not a sports person. I can't sit through two of the three major American sports for more than 10 minutes. But I can watch curling for hours.

I could watch it better in real time, NBC. I'm not appreciating the west coast tape delay at all.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call it Olympic fever, perhaps more of an Olympic head cold.

NBC's coverage suffers from way too many commentators trying to justify their own paychecks by talking incessantly. Why don't they just shut up for a few seconds every now and then and let us watch the actual sports? This ain't radio, for crying out loud!

On a related note, it's only the middle of February, and I've already used up a decade's worth of "Withstand Bob Costas" minutes.

Steve Wirzba said...

I'll quickly reiterate that coverage here in Canada on CTV and all affiliated networks is superb, as is the online content. Tons of live streaming, high-quality content, and I would think this is accesible by Americans? www.ctvolympics.ca if you want a really good augmenting feature for your Olympic watching. Also, couldn't some of you people close by in Seattle and area pick up CTV Vancouver off the air? Worth a shot..

Matthew said...

I live in New Zealand, so obviously I haven't been watching the NBC coverage, but I've been pretty happy with the coverage that we've been getting. We've had about 14 hours of coverage a day, and for most of the events that we've been getting we've had a good block of several solid hours of coverage - which is enough time to move from the "hey this is cool" stage to actually starting to know what to look for. (In the Beijing Olympics, the coverage tended to jump around between events a lot more.)

Last night I was watching the snowboarding, which I had no idea was an Olympic sport, but it was awesome. Is there any other Olympic sport where people crash out with quite so much regularity as apparently happens with snowboarding? (I watched 16 races, and I think someone crashed out in pretty much every race.)

paul in kirkland said...

First of all, the coverage itself has been abysmal: weird cutaways that don't look planned, audio dropouts every hour, etc.

Second, living 3hrs away from Vancouver by car I'm beyond angry that I not only have to wait until 7pm at the earliest to watch events, but then I only get to watch the few events that NBC chooses to provide. Those events fall into two categories: events women like, and events where the US has a medal chance. And to those arguing the female argument, NBC is passing up the US v Canada hockey game in favor of...ice dancing. And when the US won a nordic medal we didn't get to see anything other than highlights because either NBC got caught with their pants down and we won by surprise (not really, we were supposed to do really well), or because they didn't think it was important enough (ding ding!)

You know what would work great? Show as many sports as possible, and educate the public. Then maybe, just maybe, a) people will "want to see" more than just ice dancing and b) Americans might become interested in other sports and pursue them, make the US team better in a variety of sports that you can then cover even more, and so on, and so on.

It's infuriating.

I think I've figured it out though. The west coast isn't getting delayed coverage because "that's what the people want". No surprise, Dick Ebersol is a liar, but there's more to it than that.

No. The reason we're getting tape delay is simple. Since the Olympics are in the Pacific time zone, they can't delay the rest of the country without being so behind it's literally tomorrow. So they make do. Then, for the west coast - which includes California, also known and the 9th largest economy in the world - they delay the broadcast so they can cut it up and add more commercials. They need to add as many as they possibly can because Ebersol overbid the Olympics by so much that they're going to lose "a couple hundred million" by NBC's own estimate, and he's trying everything he can to reduce those losses.

End result: the west coast gets rotten, tape delayed and selectively chosen Olympic coverage larded up with commercials so Dick Ebersol can gloss over as much of his incompetence as possible.

See, he's not just a liar - he's a liar AND he's incompetent! Unfortunately, at NBC all that means is that he's probably first in line to replace Jeff Zucker.

I watch 22min of Tivo'd Community; other than that NBC is dead to me, Fredo.

filmcricket said...

Matthew L: well, there's pairs skating, to judge by last night's long program.

The company I work for is very deeply involved in the CTV/Rogers coverage, so I feel like I've been living with this for months. (Also, we get curling all the damn time; ESPN owns part of TSN - I wonder if you guys could get it through them somehow?)

Canadian Olympic coverage in general I'd say has become more parochial, and certainly this year, with the "own the podium" program, there's a lot of cheerleading for Canadian athletes. And I find they haven't been the best at telling you what's happening where; like, if you're watching skating on Rogers but would rather watch curling on TSN, it might be nice to know it's on.

But I certainly haven't noticed a dearth other athletes' events being covered. Granted, however, I am staying away from the network coverage and mostly watching on cable, because I don't need to see fireside analysis of something that happened 36 hours ago.

Elena said...

I am one of the lucky Americans who live close enough to the border to get CTV as well as NBC. For the most part they are vastly preferable to NBC. CTV is broadcasting to the whole country at once as far as I can tell, no making people on the west coast wait for "prime time" to see marquee events. And they are broadcasting the event 24 hours a day, starting with Olympic mornings (basically a Canadian Today show), then a day shift moving right into Olympic Prime. Really sweet.

Only benefit I've seen to NBC is that they sometimes have more interesting visuals, intercutting the camera angles more. Perhaps since they are doing so much time shifting, they have the time.

And I don't think the west coast is getting different coverage than the east --I've talked to my sister who lives on the east coast and seems the coverage is the same. I think it's, like always, all about the money and how much they can charge for commericals in "prime time" versus showing things in real time.

Unknown said...

Watching the NBC coverage on the West Coast - I can't stand the tape delay.
Watching skating pairs final last night - the camera work was so attrocious that often neither skater would be in the shot, and more often, only one. Some of that is due to the abysmal nature of pairs these days, in response to the new scoring system, but I think a lot was crappy camera operators.

Anonymous said...

It is one of those things where, it is on and it is an event and it is nice to watch. I don't have a favorite sport, but I like to turn the tv on and see what they are covering.

The problem is, that every flipping time I turn the tv on, they are in the middle of either a) an overproduced segment about an athlete or b) an overproduced segment about Vancouver or c) a commercial. I think in the three days I've randomly turned on the tv throughout the day to see what was on at the time, I have seen maybe two single athletes compete. Not events. But single athletes. I saw one skier and one skater. And that was it. I gave up.

M. Haubs said...

It's all kinds of frustrating here in the Seattle area, to not be able to watch Olympic Games in our region live.

What is doubly frustrating is that the Canadian rights have switched from CBC to CTV, which is generally not carried by local cable/satellite systems, so we don't even have the live second option which many of us have grown to treasure, and are stuck with the tape-delayed NBC nonsense or nothing.

Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding, as NBC's ratings are through the roof despite the tape delays, unfortunately.

I understand why they do it, I just wish they would come clean about it. When Costas says, "Now we're going live to..." for an event that is 3 hours old, it is extremely insulting.

Cassie said...

I've watched some of NBC's coverage - but I really don't want to spend 4 hours waiting to watch a 2 minute snowboard cross final. It's annoying that they cut back and forth between events - now, I know that these events are shown live in EST/CST, and they need to flip back and forth. But given the PST broadcast is tape-delayed, I wish they would change the way they package the coverage.

NBC has always had this type of mix-and-match broadcast scheme, but in this day and age - with Twitter and Facebook - it's just not cutting it. We're not getting live coverage anyway so you might as well group segments by events - like show all the snowboard cross races (from the heats, to quarterfinals, semifinals and finals) at 8pm, followed by the pairs skating starting at 8:45pm or something.

Not being able to watch full events (at least some of them) online at NBC's Olympic site is very annoying. I don't have cable/satellite so I can't watch on NBC's site. So by limiting access like NBC's doing, the only alternative is to look for bootleg videos online. How ironic.

compain87 said...

For some reason everytime I tune in NBC is showing the Biathlon. I don't know who the announcer is but whenever they are shooting and they miss a shot its as if that stray bullet killed the announcers immediate family. He is crazy, it really is high comedy. I can't stop laughing

I almost feel guilty watching it since I don't wanna support NBC and give them any boost in ratings. I loathe the idea of tape delaying sporting events in the modern sports era. It is just stupid. I am in the central time zone and it upsets me.

Why don't they just let ESPN at least report something there? It is so illogical not to let the biggest sports network do any highlights. It isn't like people aren't gonna tune in because they would rather watch highlights. In fact the opposite might occur it would increase interest to the sports.

Anonymous said...

watching women's supercross.

commercial, commercial, commercial, commercial, race, replay.

commercial, commercial, commercial, commercial, race, replay.

commercial, commercial, commercial, commercial, special interest piece, race, replay.

commercial, commercial, commercial, commercial, weather report, race, replay.

And I already knew the results from accidentally glancing at the Internet.

Thanks NBC.

Brandy said...

I love all things Olympics and get excited for it every year. I disagree that NBC isn't covering the odder sports. You have no idea how much biatholon I've watched.

The stuff covered in primetime is less interesting to me. but I think I've decided to become a womens hockey fan so all is not lost.

Would I prefer online viewing? you bet you. do I resent that I have had to step away from all thinngs twitter and email... and talking to friends and the news? you bet.

So I agree that NBC could do better. But all i heard leading up to these games was how nobody was afraid of it anymore because the Olypics are irrelevent so I'm glad to see them pulling in some numbers.

Sarah said...

HUGE Olympics fan. It's on right now in fact. Something about touching emotional stories of athletes overcoming tremendous odds + hot Canadian men with a dash of the movies Cutting Edge and Miracle wrapped up in the Star Spangled Banner. Heartbreaking losses, thrilling wins. Love it.

However, if I could offer NBC advice it would be:

1. Show the entire event all at once. Don't cut between events and go back and forth.

2. Give me a way to sneak some Olympics into my work day (i.e. online watching). I'm trying to find the bottleg online stuff, but it's hard to access.

3. For those of us who can't watch during the day and can't tivo, why isn't there a better summary of the events that happened during the day? I would have liked to have seen at least a little of the US Hockey game today or at least some curling. I'd prefer shorter overviews of many events than longer pieces on few events.

Pamela Jaye said...

I only care about figure skating and I don't recognize any of the names.

I'm happy I have a DVR (unless I just killed it)

Don't subscribe to NBC's email updates if you care to watch someone win - they put the winners in the subject headers.

now I just wish I could be sure I have not killed my DVR by trying to move a huge file

Pamela Jaye said...

PS - i'm concerned about installing Silverlight and therefore have not

dez said...

I am bummed that I am missing all the curling because my DVR just won't record a 12-hour long program, which is how CNBC had the curling today (lumped in with hockey). Got-dammit.

A woman in the PNW said...

To the guy in Kirkland, I would say that not all women like the same things. This goes for sports, art, books, food, men--everything. We are individuals, and this one was offended by your insinuation that women were ruining your Olympics.

Rebecca Jill said...

I'm an Olympics junkie and love all the events, but I have to echo everyone else's sentiments about NBC's lack of live coverage on important events. The downhill skiing yesterday (or lack thereof) was abysmal to say the least, and the fact that it wasn't able to be seen live anywhere in the U.S. is just dreadful.

I've enjoyed the afternoon coverage where there's been a lot of drama in the biathlons and cross country races. Watching these races, I've learned that the country of Norway is probably devastated right now, because of the lack of medals in cross-country skiing related events sport they have been known to dominate in the past.

But overall NBC is just not getting the job done in terms of covering events live around the clock and lack of events that should be more important than what is actually being covered. It would also help if they focused on one sport at a time with the tape-delay format they've chosen, and it would be nice of them to be honest about it all being tape delay.

I love it all, but I am a sports fan. So do I enjoy watching ice dancing? Yes. Do I agree it should be on NBC instead of a hockey game between the U.S. and Canada? Absolutely not, and I'm appalled.

I watch now, because I love the Olympics, but NBC has pretty much lost me as a viewer overall after they're over. I mourn the days of my childhood when we had Peter McKay and Company doing it right on ABC, or at least the way I remember the ABC coverage.

femmeperdue said...

As another West Coaster, let me echo the frustration with NBC coverage. Last night, during the pair's finals, they would show a program, cut to commercial, show the scores, and then cut to another commercial. We were average a commercial every 2 minutes or so. It was ABSURD!

Ben Scripps said...

I've been a fan of curling for almost thirty years now; when I was about nine, we had CBC on our cable system, and I was utterly fascinated coming across it one day.

Nowadays, CBC is no longer available to me, so I only get to see curling once every four years, when the Olympics start up. It really is one of my favorite sports; sure, it takes a lot of ribbing (hah! 'Cause they're sweeping!!! I get it!!!!!) but it really is a very strategic sport.

But let me try and describe the experience of watching curling on NBC:

Imagine you're an NFL fan. Now imagine that, for one reason or another, you can only watch NFL games once every four years, and then, you can only watch the playoff games.

Now imagine that, for every legitimately insightful comment the color commentator tries to make to explain the finer points of the action on the field, there are two more from the play by play man explaining that "In American football, the team with possession of the ball has four chances, called 'downs', with which to advance the ball ten yards", or that "If that team can advance the ball into the painted area past the goal line, which is called the 'end zone', they will score six points for a 'touch down'."

Now imagine that they break away for a commercial, and when they come back, the play by play man says "Okay, while we were away, Green Bay had to punt; Dallas took the punt back to their own 34 yard line. The Cowboys ran six plays from there, including a 26-yard pass, driving to the Green Bay 23 yard line before Tony Romo threw an interception. Green Bay brought the pick back 57 yards, but Aaron Rogers was unable to convert, and so now here we are back live with the Packers about to try for a field goal. And we'll let you know how that turns out after we break away for these messages."

Now you know what it's like to be a curling fan watching NBC.

Karl Ruben said...

@Rebecca Jill: I dunno if Norway's devastated - no cross country or biathlon gold medals in the Turin games seems to have inoculated us against the somewhat crap results so far, but yeah, waiting for that first gold is kinda excruciating. Especially when those dastardly Swedes have already brought home two gold medals! At least we beat the US in curling yesterday...

I don't envy you USians that NBC coverage. The Olympics are on public broadcasting over here, which means around the clock live broadcasts, unlimited internet streaming and - most importantly - no ads.

For those interested in the Nordic events, I recommend the cross country sprint later today or any of the remaining biathlon events. The XC sprint cuts down the (what some might find to be) interminable length and monotony of regular XC races, and leaves nothing but speed and aggression. And an exciting biathlon race is one of the most consistently entertaining sporting events out there.

Jen said...

Like many here, I can't stand the way NBC has been cutting between events (and commercials) but the thing that irritates me the most is the way the events run so late in primetime. Staying up until midnight for the last two pairs skaters is not going to work for me.

Also those idiotic Dreamworks movie tie ins during the skiing and snowboarding events, gah! Make it stop.

I did find that having the TV on mute improved things considerably.

Barb said...

Alan, I think the comments left already have hit the key points. I haven't seen decent Olympic coverage since 1988.

To answer your question, yes I was 'spoiled' by a result I saw by accident on a news site because NBC refused to show the event live. And when NBC aired it later that night, they didn't even mention it was taped... all Bob Costas had to say was 'here's the snowboarding event *taped earlier today*.'

I want to see competitors from other countries, and not just the top contenders.

For some reason, the other sports I've seen (e.g. snowboarding) when they flash the results (after each competitor run) at the right side of the screen, they list the country flags next to each name. They haven't been doing that for figure skating - why? And they only show the top 4-5 places, so if someone you're following falls below that, you have no idea where they are ranked as the event progresses.

I also think NBC needs to advertise what's being aired on affiliated channels. I don't know or care what stations NBC owns. If they're going to air coverage on those stations, they should advertise it. Viewers shouldn't have to search through cable guides or hunt through websites to find televised event coverage. A brief wrap-up on NBC before ending for the night stating X is scheduled on Y station tomorrow would suffice.

You would think with all of the modern media opportunities coverage would be excellent. Sadly, coverage was better in the 70s/80s when there was only 1 station and events were aired live throughout the midde of the night.

Sonia said...

Hate the Dreamworks stuff...seriously, it's so lame.

And someone else mentioned the piece about polar bears, while very interesting, it was set in Manitoba, no where near Vancouver, right? So I can't understand why they would include this in the Olympics' coverage.

I love the Olympics, but I am finding it very hard to follow -- the men's downhill coverage was so choppy, I wasn't sure it was over when it finally was. We only saw a fraction of the skiers. I mean, can't they at least summarize what happened up to that point? Show everyone's final times...not just the top few and then the Americans?

The tape delay doesn't bother me THAT much -- if I find out who won before it airs on TV, I'm still going to watch it. Especially the figure skating events. Love that Scott Hamilton -- does anyone get more excited than he does?

Speaking of skating...the interviews with Dick Button make me sad. Bob Costas asks him a question, and the man takes forever to answer it. It's almost like he can't think that quickly -- and I feel bad watching him. The man is a legend in the sport. But the scoring systems and program requirements are so different now...it's just not helpful to hear his opinions about it now. He obviously hates a lot of the trends in the sport -- changing positions in spins (slows down the spin and he likes a good fast spin), footwork requirements, quad jumps, lack of artistry, etc. I've been watching skaing since the days of Peggy Fleming and Dick Button was always the man -- and I learned so much from him. But Scott Hamilton does a much better job right now. I think he's more objective regarding the changes in the sport.

I do like that I learn a little about sports I'm normally exposed to -- like snowboard cross (how fun does that look?), curling and the biathalon. I did have to look up a lot of teh rules online b/c I felt the announcers weren't explaining enough (esp. curling adb biathalon) -- they would get so excited about something and I'd be like, "what happened?"

The coverage is heavily skewed towards the US athletes, but I think since they will win a lot of medals it doesn't bother me. I don't feel like the other countries are being ignored or anything.

Greg said...

I love most Olympic events. I freaking hate the reality miniseries on NBC called The Olympics.

Universal Sports has been particularly disappointing. NBCU could use it to air reruns of things from the previous day, but instead they're mostly airing old skiing from 2009! If you get US though, and if past years are any indication, the network may air US Curling nationals (3/6-14) and possibly Worlds. Last year I was able to watch the national semis live, for free, on broadcast TV. Of course those were also Olympic qualifiers, so this year could be right out the window.

(My verification word: DECIMO. He's a metric superhero)

Rebecca Jill said...

To Karl Ruben

My use of the word "devastated" is unfortunately from the NBC announcer broadcast. That's what they made it sound like ... hope Norway can pick up a gold.

Thanks for the information on the other Nordic events.

M. Haubs said...

I found the piece about polar bears in Manitoba quite odd as well. It's as if, during the Atlanta Olympics, they decided to run a piece on Mt. Rushmore. It's not like there aren't tons of potential nature-related stories in British Columbia.

Anonymous said...

Eight commercial breaks per hour is simply awful; even if they are slightly shorter than a normal network break.

The announcers, in general, have been terrible. Some of them are throwing up on themselves with excitement. Most insist on talking over the live pictures as if we can't see what is happening. Instead of letting us hear the crowd erupting in appreciation for a great skating program, Tom Hammonds has to immediately tell us how wonderful the program was and pretty much ruin the moment.

Camera work has been excellent but direction has been really bad. Example: last night the Swiss skater was performing an incredibly fast spin to end his program and the directed switched camera angles in the middle of it from a full body shot to a close up of his face. This robbed the viewer of enjoying the majesty of the spin.

Simple mistakes like this are ruining the coverage for me.

And Matt Lauer was a true embarrassment during the opening ceremony. And the normally excellent Costas didn't enjoy his finest moment that night.

Rich, Denver

Gary7379 said...

Thank God for my DVR. I'm time shifting everything and then filtering out the commentary, sob stories, and advertizing. I can usually blast through a 4-hour night's worth of prime time coverage in under an hour.

barbra said...

I am a huge Olympics fan; watch every day, every two years.

When I watched as a youngster (I'm thinking 1988, 1992...), it felt more like I was there. I remember watching downhill skiier after downhill skiier...

Now, it always feels like I'm watching a clip show Olympics. I miss the feeling of being there! It's kind of like watching Olympic SportsCenter or something.

Oh, and I hate the tape delay. I'm in the same time zone as Vancouver, for gosh sakes!


Nick56 said...

I agree with all of the criticism above. I have to say though that the announcing for the biathlon and Ski-cross has been awesome. Snowboard Cross.... not. The biggest gripe has to be the mystery as to when to expect an event. I understand delays and such but cmon...

Anonymous said...

Over the weekend when I was watching some ski jumping, they were showing 2 jumps and then 4-5 minutes of commercials.

I agree that I'm thankful for my DVR. Tonight I'm watching a basketball game on ESPN, which they are showing live. Since I already know who won the skiing, I can watch that later if I want to see the highlights that NBC shows

Eric said...

Seconding Gary's comment, I've had a DVR since just before the Beijing games, and I've never been happier to have it. It has been taking around 45 minutes to watch a 4-hour block of NBC Olympic programming, and I don't think I'm missing anything of substance.

If it weren't for the DVR, I think I would have already given up trying to follow the games.

Jason said...

Why do you need to dress up curling? It's fantastic just the way it is. And i'm not being sarcastic.

dez said...

ITA, Jason! Curling is fun and fascinating.

I did enjoy coverage of the Nordic combined because they didn't have much else to show, so I got to see even the crappy jumpers do their jumps. Fun for me because I enjoy watching the lesser jumpers try to improve their technique.

This article about the coverage cracked me up: http://deadspin.com/5472940/everyone-agrees-nbcs-olympic-coverage-sucks?skyline=true&s=i

Anonymous said...

I just have to bitch again about the delay, because I keep getting spoiled on results. I sort of understand the NY Times and Washington Post spoiling results for me, a West coaster, but what really sucks is my own paper, The Oregonian, spoiling results before they ever air in Oregon. UGH. HATE YOU, NBC.