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Spoiler Alert

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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!

 

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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

 

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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.

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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.  

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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.

 

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6 responses

  1. Marooned

    Beijing had a time difference as well. I can’t remember a single event that was spoiled ahead of time. I think most of the events must have aired live. The big ones, like volleyball, swimming, and gymnastics could be aired in the morning live in most cases. It’s even worse if you missed an event and go to the NBC site to watch the game. There are ads and videos everywhere telling you who won. Fact of the matter is, nobody held a gun to NBCs head and said, you have to cover the Olympics. They have been complaining about how much it costs, but this is an issue for any network that chooses to air this type of coverage, or for that matter, the country that hosts it.

    So, it isn’t even an issue of turning off all social media, avoiding news sites, and rearranging your life. Even if you do all that, if you can’t watch the prime time coverage when you go to their website to view the results they are immediately spoiled. I even know where most of the ads appeared, so I blocked the area they normally appear in with my hand, but a caption below the image still gave it away. It’s at the point where it is almost humorous — almost. Having psychic powers takes the suspense out of everything.

    August 3, 2012 at 8:14 PM

  2. Ellen

    I agree….I went online this afternoon and the first thing I saw was that the women’s gymnastic team had won the gold….yup, it definitely spoiled the event for me

    August 1, 2012 at 12:21 AM

  3. mr. know-it-all

    i know your pain, bobby. this is a problem as old as the modern-day olympics. going back to the most memorable moment in US olympic history, the hockey team upset of the soviets at lake placid in 1980, i had to contend with the same struggle. the game was played on a friday afternoon, but in the programming wisdom of the then covering network, which i believe was ABC, the decision was to televise the game on tape delay that night.

    i remember placing myself in media blackout, and warning friends/family who may have known the outcome of the game to keep it to themself. of course in those ancient times before the floodgate of media coverage and electronic communication was opened, it was much easier. but still, even then it was hardly the stone age, so avoiding mass media and the buzz on the street took some doing.

    and what i remember most about watching the game that night, besides the game itself, was that a good friend of mine at the time who knew the outcome of game,watched the entire game with me without letting on, jumping the call, or in anyway spoiling the “live” experience for me. that was a good friend, or a bad hockey fan.

    July 31, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    • I didn’t realize that the 1980 Miracle On Ice was tape delayed a full day later. I can’t believe your friend could sit there and not leak any information about the result, or even show some emotion to give you a clue of what happened.

      Like you said, the media blackout must have been a lot easier without internet, 24 hour sports talk radio and 50 sports channels all covering the Games at different angles. As I went downstairs at work to drop my kids off at bussing, one of my buddies just told me the result of the Female Team Olympics that are going to be viewed at 8:00 p.m. I feel very tempted to share it with you right now, but in the name of your hockey watching buddy, I will also refrain from spoiling it for you

      July 31, 2012 at 2:52 PM

  4. Hmmmm. A sports blogger who is afraid to watch sports for fear of finding out what he would be reporting on? Kind of like a reporter who won’t ask the police what happened at a crime scene because it was 6 hours until the nightly news and he didn’t want a spolier. Tough call – good luck figuring out that perfect balance!

    By the way – I understand your dilemna. I am busy Thursday and don’t want ANYONE to tell me the results of the Individual Dressage Grand Prix before I see every captivating moment on TV! We’re taking a daytrip to a park to watch moss grow that day and won’t get back until really late.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    • If that’s how you interpreted my argument and related to it, then I’m glad you understand. I was writing much more from a sports fan opinion than a sports reporter. I’m not really attempting to report on the Olympics as much as I am trying to watch them without knowing the result. Sports fan generally like to find out the winner as the game unfolds in front of them. It takes a great deal of the excitement away when the fan knows exactly what they are going to see before it takes place… whether we are talking about the Olympics are the Individual Dressage Grand Prix, I think that most sports fans would agree with my basic argument

      July 31, 2012 at 2:49 PM

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