Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Love-Hate Relationship With The Olympics

I was so looking forward to the Olympics this year.

I love the winter games, love the thrilling, beautiful, and sometimes obscurely puzzling events. I love the backdrop of snow and ice, the joy on an athlete's face when he or she accomplishes the impossible. And the fact that it was occurring just a few hours up the road in a part of Canada that I adore was even more of an incentive to watch.

Then the opening ceremonies started.

I had noted the start time and was waiting anxiously for the show to begin. I checked twitter and was puzzled to see live-tweeting of the ceremonies when they weren't scheduled to begin until three hours in the future.

I turned on the TV, sure I'd misread the start time. No, it was still scheduled for later in the evening.

Then the lightbulb moment. It was scheduled for prime time. NBC was tape-delaying the opening ceremonies.

I grumbled a bit, but figured if they wanted to squeeze the maximum advertising dollars out of the opening ceremonies, there wasn't much I could do about it. At least it was only the opening ceremonies, right?

Wrong. By the next day I'd realized that NBC had decided to tape-delay the Winter Games completely. So here I was, living IN THE SAME TIME ZONE as the actual games, and unable to watch until NBC decided it was the right time for me to watch. The "people want to watch when they're at home, so we're postponing until later" didn't fly for me either, because it was the middle of a three day weekend.

Even worse, delays from earlier in the day ended up being built in to the coverage. Was ice skating postponed because of problems with the ice? Well, if people on the East Coast had to live with delays that pushed the finals past midnight, so did we -regardless of how much time NBC had to trim the delays and show the actual event at the scheduled air time.

And not only are the delays teeth-grindingly annoying, I pretty much know the results of every major event before it airs here, thanks to Twitter and Internet news sites. Even NBC is posting spoilers on their Twitter feed, thus adding insult to injury. So why bother staying up late to watch the speed skating when I know who won, who lost, and who wiped out?

I can't even watch on my favorite Canadian station anymore, because they don't have the coverage rights this year. So my go-to option for alternative coverage was out as well.

So even though I love the Winter Olympics, the shortsighted and nonsensical decision to force people in the same time zone as the actual games to wait hours to watch has pretty much sucked all the enjoyment out of the Olympics for me this year. Sigh. I hope that in future years NBC will take into account the changing world of instant information and realize that time-delaying sporting events is counterproductive at best.

Okay, rant over. I'm going to go watch some speed skating now, and pretend I don't know who won. It's more fun that way.


PG Forte said...

Yeah, right with you on that. Same thing happened with the Grammys. And all the promo is: "tune in and watch it live!"

Except, by the time it's on, you've already read all the details hours earlier on Twitter...and, anyway, you're watching a tape. So where's the live part?

Kate Davies said...

Exactly! At the very least NBC should stop crowing about "LIVE AT 7!" in their ads. Not for those of us in this time zone, guys.

Sigh. It's a losing battle, but I'll keep fighting it. :)

Lucy Monroe said...

You're always so erudite! LOL But you are so right...that is absolutely rediculous. One of the reasons my son-i-ls don't like T-voed sports events is the risk factor of learning early who won. Despite the fact I'm so not a sports fan (hello, what is curling about anyway?), even I get that this was a pretty stupid move on NBCs part.

This year, my sis and I decided staying up til midnight on New Year's Eve was just not something our older bodies wanted to do, so we're watching the ball drop in real time and going to bed at 9. I'm just saying...if they screw with that, I'm gonna drop my own ball and call it a night. ;-)