Over the last couple of weeks the 2012 Summer Olympics captured our hearts, imaginations, and dreams as NBC brought us the best of the best physical feats in many sports from London.
It was something to behold and every night for the last two weeks, I was losing some serious sleep as the games aired most nights until midnight.
NBC had one hell of a challenge in front of it. To air events that the world would know the outcome to, several hours before the show. As the jokes went, the Curiosity tape delay from Mars was 14 minutes. NBC’s from London, 6+ hours.
But if you wanted to, some things could have been watched live. I taped the 3am airings of both the men’s and women’s marathons and watched them as soon as I got up. They aired almost 12 hours later for those who could wait.
The final medal count had the United States eclipsing China, with 104 total medals over China’s 87. We kicked some butt over there! (The complete list is below.)
Despite the obvious challenges to NBC, specifically, airing events everyone knew the results to, they rocked the TV ratings because we wanted to see it happen. And the advertisers won the gold with this investment.
The last Olympics had the same issue and people are wondering if NBC will strive for live coverage in 2014 for the Winter Olympics or not. To be honest, since viewers made this a hit, why would NBC even worry about changing their process?
I don’t expect any changes, but who knows.
NBC averaged over 31 million viewers each night. And they did hold over 30 hours of live coverage across all their platforms, despite skipping such coverage for some of the most anticipated events where Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt participated. Just to name a few.
My issues were with some questionable reporting processes. The guys covering the marathons seemed to be folks who studied up and were thrown into the coverage. They did fine, but there were some things they said that didn’t make sense.
Aside from some of the obvious angst that folks were evidencing on Twitter, to me, it was obvious that scientific achievements like Curiosity landing on Mars ranked so low to not even warrant a mention or ticker text during the telecast but then announcements for Romney’s running mate deserved coverage interruption.
I was befuddled by that.
I hated how the much coveted, tape delayed events were held from airing until around or after 10p.m..
And some of the background bits that preceded in the first hour each night, well, I was pretty anxious to see the sporting events, so I was chomping at the bit. Those could have been put on at 7, not 8 pm and they could have run until 11 not midnight.
Phelps becoming the most decorated Olympian, ever with 22 medals. And Usain Bolt, capturing his gold medals as expected. And this time around, Bolt seemed so much more mature than the last time I saw him wining medals.
Boudia coming out of nowhere, and capturing gold in men’s diving. And that poor woman who tripped yet again at another Olympic running event, was a heart-wrencher. And a double amputee competing on the track. (I wonder if he had won, how many people would have cried foul?)
Yet there was still some disrespect when gymnast McKayle Maroney showed complete disdain for winning a silver. Sure, she was upset, but hey, I saw many silver medalists who were very proud of landing on the podium. She embarrassed me.
And some folks seemed to think NBC was objectifying women with a video. But then again, should we have volleyball, gymnasts and track & field participants wear full length dresses while they compete? TV ratings includes some sex appeal, and I’m sure they were aware, but you can’t avoid certain scenarios when you combine athletic performance and camera placements.
Even with the broadcast flubs, this was great TV entertainment each night… and now, it’s back to the regular routine of scripted and reality TV.
G’night all & here’s that medal chart I promised you, after all that ranting:
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