February 23, 2010

"We believe in live. We believe in live.": ESPN exec John Skipper talks about the Disney network stable's pitch for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics, and the "anachronistic" decisions that go into NBC's tape-delayed broadcasts -- which, this time round, extends to tomorrow's US hockey QF and the gold-medal game on Sunday.

posted by etagloh to olympics at 10:34 PM - 15 comments

Live ?

That's crazy talk !

posted by tommytrump at 11:22 PM on February 23

On Twitter I have seen nothing but bitching about NBC's pitiful coverage of the games.

posted by Drood at 11:23 PM on February 23

NBC: TV for this guy.

posted by cjets at 01:11 AM on February 24

It was great to be in Vancouver and catching the events live on television. I came home to this nonsense and understood, in a moment of extreme clarity, that everything everybody has said negatively about NBC over the last half year has been absolutely true.

posted by igottheblues at 01:45 AM on February 24

Oh if only.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:19 AM on February 24

If they broadcast live, your children might again witness the terror of hearing the word "shit" from a snowboarder. It might be so disturbing that they can barely focus on the next eviscerated corpse shown close up on Law and Order:SVU.

posted by tahoemoj at 10:09 AM on February 24

Maybe not being live could have prevented this from happening to SportsCenter.

I do however hope that NBC realizes that the tape delay approach does not work in today's environment and does show things live from London.

posted by Demophon at 10:29 AM on February 24

"If tape delay was good enough for 1980's Miracle on Ice, it's good enough for these Olympics, too."

- NBC mentality

posted by grum@work at 11:10 AM on February 24

I agree with live. I like live. However, the 2014 games (the first one ESPN is going after) are in Sochi, Russia, which is 8 hours ahead of the east coast and 11 hours ahead of the west coast. Even the latest events will only just be ending in mid-afternoon on the east coast and noon out west. ESPN has picked a tough spot to plant their 'live' flag. If they want to have any substantial audience at all, they're either going to have to air live and reair in the evening or tape delay.

posted by bender at 12:34 PM on February 24

ESPN has picked a tough spot to plant their 'live' flag. If they want to have any substantial audience at all, they're either going to have to air live and reair in the evening or tape delay.

That's what they do for the Australian Open. Air it live for those who want to see it, and then reair it in prime time.

posted by bperk at 01:31 PM on February 24

Air it live for those who want to see it, and then reair it in prime time.

This is true. And it works. Though I think 'live' is not always enough, especially for the Olympics. There's a balance between showing unadorned feeds and NBC's giftwrapping, and most national broadcasters -- even commercial ones -- achieve that from experience (and audience expectation). I've complained before that World Cup broadcasts on ESPN are sparse on analysis, because of the need to ram commercials into the pre-game, post-game and half-time slots; that's steadily improved, and it's likely that they'll have ringers like Sky's Andy Gray again for South Africa, but there does need to be a bit of framing.

I don't have much hope that NBC will change its broadcast template for London, even though the technology gap is going to be even more obvious and harder to plug. The two-year gap dilutes the memory of the coverage; they just point to the ratings and say "we got the viewers". It'll take a new broadcaster to introduce a new paradigm to the US.

posted by etagloh at 04:07 PM on February 24

We believe in live. We believe in live.

Sounds like ESPN is channeling parent company Disney's Peter Pan and the Lost Boys trying to bring Tinker Bell back; "We do believe in fairies, we do, we do"!

posted by irunfromclones at 07:25 PM on February 24

There's one thing the IOC should consider that gives ABC/ESPN an edge (and makes them evil). ESPN really seems to go to the mat promoting the sports that appear on it and ABC and almost ignoring those that don't.

If ABC got the Olympics, ESPN would probably be hyping events with months to go until the games.

posted by drezdn at 10:24 PM on February 24

ESPN would probably be hyping events with months to go until the games.

So we might get to see some hockey coverage on ESPN?! Sweet. In all seriousness, though-good point.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:35 PM on February 24

NBC has caved, at least for the two remaining US Men's Hockey matches.

posted by billsaysthis at 07:07 PM on February 25

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