Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Noodle in a Haystack

The Winter Olympics are here. Too bad for sports fans can't see them live.
According to Forbes, NBC paid over 600 million dollars for the right to show us tape delayed events. Brilliant.

How stupid are they at NBC Sports? Over the last decade they've let the NFL, NBA and MLB take their games to other networks, choosing to stamp their band on NASCAR and Arena Football. Now they've spent over a half a billion dollars to bring us tape delayed Olympic coverage at the height of the internet age.

I can understand their desire to have the games on in Primetime, but why not show them live when they happen then put the condensed version on later? Would it kill them to bump Passions for a couple weeks? Hell, they could've just written Bode Miller in to the show as himself and the housewives would have watched the Olympics without ever knowing their drivel had its time slot usurped.

And speaking of soap opera drama, the human interest stories continue to become a bigger and bigger part of the Olympic story. At least back when the games were live we could always comfort ourselves with the foolish notion that they were only feeding us this crap because the next curling match wasn't due to start for another 15 minutes.
And the bar has been raised. No longer is Herman Meijer's motorcycle crash compelling enough. Now we have moved fully in to the daytime talk show arena with the story of speed skater Chris Witty. Witty is a 5 time Olympian who was sexually abused as a child, and forgive the cynic in me that pictures the NBC producer licking his chops when he first found out.

Sadly, the world's greatest athletic gathering has become just another TV show. A scripted drama so carefully orchestrated that the network doesn’t care if you read the results on the internet before you see it on TV. To them, ESPN.com is no different than Soap Opera Digest.

A shame indeed.

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