In the last week or so, it’s been in vogue to criticize everything NBC has done when covering the London Olympics. While I’m not one to normally jump on the bandwagon, I can’t help but think that so many things about the network’s coverage could be improved, so I’ve created a short wishlist for its coverage of the next games.
1. Have live, uncut airings of the opening and closing ceremonies: When I found out that NBC would be airing the Opening Ceremonies during primetime, I was livid. This is the 21stcentury, and with the ubiquity of the Internet – especially sites like Twitter – it’s simply ridiculous for NBC to force Americans to wait hours to see the ceremonies when the rest of the world can see them live. And on that note, it would be great if NBC could air the ceremonies uncut. The Internet was afire with news that NBC had cut out a tribute to the victims 7/7 London bombings in favor of a staid Michael Phelps interview, which NBC somehow thought would be more relevant to American viewers.
2. Provide insightful commentary or no commentary: To put it mildly, NBC’s commentary of the opening ceremonies was pedestrian at best. And when the commentators insinuated that countries like Albania would not win a medal or when they demeaned sports like handball, it was worse than pedestrian. I hope that, next time around, the network will either provide viewers with insightful commentary or let the images speak for themselves.
3. Diversify the primetime programming: Swimming, gymnastics, track and field, beach volleyball, diving. Does the primetime presentation of the Olympics ever focus on anything else? True, I’ve seen them spotlight moments of equestrian, track cycling, and rowing, but must they show (seemingly) every single swimming race instead of showing some bits of fencing, archery, judo, boxing, table tennis, etc. in primetime? NBC has the monopoly on primetime coverage, so people will watch regardless of what they show. Can’t they show some love to some of the lesser-known sports, too?
4. Provide live, online streaming for everyone: It’s great that NBC provides every event live online. What’s not great is that, in order to watch events online, one must log in using his cable user name. Thus, in order to have access to every Olympic event, one must subscribe to cable. And if one doesn’t subscribe to cable, he’s stuck with only the primetime coverage.
Are there any elements of the coverage you’d like to see changed before the next Olympics?