As I wrote a few days ago, I love the Olympics. I spent this past weekend watching every event I could get my eyes on. Whether it was Fencing, Water Polo or Ping Pong, I was there rooting hard for America. Shit, me and the guys got together Saturday night and took in a solid hour of Women’s Weight Lifting, cheering on some of the most beastly women imaginable as they were cleaning and jerking! It has been a fantastic few days, with one very large exception. I have literally had to alter my lifestyle in order to fully enjoy the games!
Let me explain. The Olympics are taking place in London, England, which is 5 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time. As a result, NBC is forced to show a majority of the Olympic games on tape delay. Now you can see some of the competitions live, like cycling, shooting and a few of the team games, but NBC wants viewers to watch in the prime-time spot of 8 p.m. Therefore they are not showing events like swimming, gymnastics, diving and track and field until several hours after the events have aired. It makes sense from NBC’s standpoint to show the highest rated sports during the hours that people can sit down and watch them, but it is setting people like myself up for an entire new set of issues
Saturday was the first day of real Olympic competition and I was extremely pumped for the Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps showdown at the 400m Individual Medley. I looked up the coverage times and NBC said the race was at 7:30 in London, so I did the math and tuned into NBC at 2:30 p.m. There was women’s volleyball on instead. Then Bob Costas came on and explained that the race would be shown on NBC at 8 p.m. I was disappointed but decided to set my DVR to record the race and enjoyed the volleyball. An hour later I picked up my laptop and logged on to ESPN.com, without really thinking much about it. The first thing that popped up was a picture of Ryan Lochte holding a gold medal and a very disappointed Michael Phelps. Instantly, I knew the result of the race I was looking forward to seeing live.
As a result of this initial disappointment, I have been forced to live my life in a very unfamiliar way. For the next two weeks, I can not surf the internet on my usual sites because I know that there will be spoilers everywhere. I have stayed off all forms of social media, assuming people will be posting about results of events I haven’t had the opportunity to see yet. I will not be watching ESPN, for shows like PTI and Around The Horn are delivering results well before NBC’s “prime-time spot.” I usually listen to sports talk radio around the clock, and I have stopped doing that as well because I am being force fed updates also. For an avid sports fan like myself, to lose all of these outlets at one time is not easy at all, especially since it makes it more difficult to follow all other happenings in the sports world such as the baseball trade deadline.
I am not sure what the solution is to this dilemma. NBC could show the events live and then repeat them at 8 p.m., but they are probably nervous about hurting their nightly ratings. I guess other networks like ESPN, FOX, CBS and the other news providers could not report the results, but those opposing companies probably have no problem spoiling the results because it will lead to more viewers to their “prime-time” programs that are against the Olympics. The radio and websites want to report the scores and action in as timely a manner as possible, so there is no chance they would wait for the events to air on TV. This issue has definitely affected my ability to enjoy and take in the games for the suspense they usually offer. I will attempt to stay clear of all sports coverage every day until I can watch the events at night, but I’m not sure how successful I can be in doing so. I just hope the heads at the Olympic Committee and NBC understand how big of a sacrifice I am making in the name of the 2012 London Olympics.