Thursday, February 18, 2010

NBC Fails at the 21st Century

I remember watching the 1988 Winter Olympics, and being completely entranced by speed skater Bonnie Blair. Ever since, I've been an Olympics junkie -- especially speed skating. But it's not 1988 anymore, so I don't know why NBC is broadcasting them like we're still back in the Stone pre-Information Age.

I emailed Dick Ebersol, and while I'm sure none of these emails get read, it was still therapeutic:
Mr. Ebersol:

I am writing to request that you do away with the ridiculous tape
delay of Olympic coverage for the West Coast Olympic fans. This
prevents a quarter of the country from enjoying the coverage with
friends in the rest of the country via Twitter, Facebook, or even the
phone. Why should I watch when I already know the results? It's not
1964 anymore.

And why the emphasis on prime-time coverage? Those of us on the West
Coast are used to live sporting events starting at 5 or 6 p.m.! 100
million Americans watched the Super Bowl, and it wasn't because it was
tape-delayed on the West Coast. We watch Sunday Night Football and
Monday Night Football and the World Series in the early evening -- in
fact, we're not used to staying up until 11 p.m. watching sports!

Please, for the love of god, stop tape-delaying your Olympic coverage.
And remember that the highest-rated broadcast of all time in the U.S.
is the Super Bowl, not some soft-focus feature about how someone
raised by a single parent survived cancer and a torn ACL and an epic
crash in the 2006 Winter Olympics. All we want is live coverage of
the sports, so we can enjoy every thrilling downhill run and crazy
speed-skating collision with the rest of the country.

If you want more anger, check out the nbchate tag on Deadspin. And hope that ABC -- or hell, anyone who's not NBC -- gets the rights to the Olympics someday.


Sharmon said...

Did you hear anything back from Dick? I sent him an email, too, after getting a canned response from NBC when I sent the comment below to NBC via their "feedback" form. I guessed at his email address (same one you used) and didn't get a bounce-back, but also got nothing to confirm the address is correct.

Feedback to NBC:
Unlike many of the complaints you have probably received, I actually like the fluff. I like the athlete back stories, and I like Bob Costas’ commentary. I like this content, however, as filler. I don’t want to watch this instead of the events. And I certainly don’t want to watch the events AFTER the results have been announced. Especially since the events are taking place 163 miles from my house. By the way, did you show this just to infuriate those of us in Seattle who are so close, but yet so far from seeing the events live?

Every time I see that tape delay message on the bottom of my screen when the program starts, all I can think about is how little NBC cares about the viewers in the Pacific time zone. I honestly can’t believe that in the year 2010 where information is available constantly, NBC would even contemplate not delivering the Olympics real-time in the time zone in which they are occurring. I just don’t get it. And I have to believe there is someone at NBC that realizes this huge mistake. There is still time to fix it. Please fix it.

Becky said...

Alas, no response. I got his email address from this deadspin post. I also left feedback on the website, and got a canned response. Alas.

Although there's a lot of anger online (check out the #nbcfail tag on twitter), it may be a vocal minority. Apparently ratings are sky-high, despite the tape delay.

I just worry about the gold medal hockey game. It'll be on NBC on Sunday -- does that mean it'll be tape-delayed on the West Coast? No one has an answer for me!