Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fifty Shades of Olympics

One of the sports reporters I follow on Twitter tweeted this week during the controversy over NBC tape-delaying some of the big swimming races that the average prime-time Olympics viewers is "stuck in 1987".  He meant that people who tune in to watch tape-delayed coverage of any sporting event nowadays must not have 500-cable channels, the internet or a smart phone with the Twitter app--because how could you possibly not know the results of something that happened seven to ten hours ago in our modern society?  Well that tweeter is wrong, the average NBC Olympics viewer is simply a woman.

It's no secret that whatever network is carrying the Olympics caters its coverage to women.  Why do you think prime-time features nothing but swimming, diving, sprints and gymnastics?  Guys get the occasional bone tossed their way with women's beach volleyball--but there again, we knew the results hours ago.  (And this year is incrdibly disappointing, since the weather in London has been so cold that the ladies are allowed to wear long sleeve shirts and tights--rather than the "Official Uniform of Beach VolleyBall": Bikinis).

Taped broadcast also gives NBC the "20/20 vision" if you will, to profile the athlete who is about to make the biggest splash or the suffer the greatest disappointment in the next televised event.  Women love that stuff--and somehow there is always one gymnast or one swimmer or one track star that just lost their mother or grandmother or beloved pet in whose memory they are competing tonight.  Guys, we don't care about that junk.  Sure we got a little misty-eyed when Dale Earnhardt, Jr won at Daytona five months after his dad was killed at the track and when Brett Favre lit up the Raiders hours after his father's death--but the third guy on the 4x100 relay saw his best friend shot to death on a street corner ten years ago?  Just don't drop the baton, pal--that's all we care about.

Besides, the sports that "count" are being show live--in their entirety--on several outlets.  NBC is offering every Team USA men's and women's basketball game on NBC Sports Network and on their website and mobile app--because they know fans of those sports are not going to put up with waiting seven hours to see the games--and will make the effort to follow the action however they can.  The same goes for USA women's soccer and men's water polo. 

So let's all quit complaining about tape-delayed races and routines--and accept prime-time NBC Olympics coverage for what it is: Sports-related chick flicks.

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