If you get your Olympics coverage on television, you didn't see it live.
Television coverage of sports in America is confusing, amazing and frustrating all at the same time.
During football season, it is possible to see a pro, high school or college game on the tube 5 nights per week and in some weeks, even more. Don’t fret however, the NFL network broadcasts 24/7 in case you need a football fix. If you like basketball, golf, soccer and baseball, you can get your fill of those sports as well, which is a really great thing. I am not complaining, just observing the state of what people watch and in some cases what American television delivers.
Great Britain's Mark Cavendish, left, in the BBC commentators’ box
In a similar fashion, the CBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, also offers full and complete coverage of sporting events, including the Olympics. Unlike the BBC, the CBC does have some supplemental advertising in their coverage. One of my favorite memories of traveling in Canada was watching the stone by stone coverage of Curling on CBC.
Maybe the most frustrating part of the NBC coverage was the fact that much of it was tape delayed. Certainly the five hour time difference between the UK and the Eastern Time zone here in the states made things difficult. However, due to twitter, radio and television news reports, finding out the results of many events in advance of their night time television airing was pretty easy and in many cases discouraged you from watching it.
Cuba's Yunidis Castillo (center) celebrates after winning the women's 200-meter T46 final race on Sept. 1.
(Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press)
Over the past two weeks you may have heard reports or stories about the Paralympics being held in London. The venues were jammed, the athletes were inspirational and of course while the BBC churned out hundreds of hours of coverage, there was limited or no coverage here in the States. Just hearing a few stories on NPR made me wish we could tune in to see performances of these amazing athletes.
This past weekend I read a report that indicated that NBC Universal, The American Broadcaster with rights to the Olympics had a better financial performance with the Games than anticipated. NBC Universal paid about $1.18 billion for U.S. TV rights to the Olympics in London and will break even or have a small profit due to increased advertising revenues.
“We were fortunate many U.S. teams and athletes performed very well, and that was good for our ratings,” according to Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group. The London Games were the most watched U.S. television event ever, drawing 219.4 million U.S. viewers.
The only bright spot ahead is technology keeps moving forward and may have a hand in improving what you can view. Streaming broadcasts are getting better and better and with everyone and their brother owning some kind of device to watch video, you can bet the shape of the next Olympic coverage might look different. If you are interested, here is a great link to an article on how it might look.