By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard
New Years Day brings with it new hope and a full slate of sports. From Bowl games to Premier League matches and of course the NHL’s showcase event the Winter Classic. Unfortunately a new year didn’t mean a NBC Sports. They were up to their same old talking tactics of telling viewers that a game was at one time but in all reality it was at another.
The Winter Classic was scheduled to begin at 10am PST. They dropped the puck at 10:30am. What was in that 30 minutes? The typical NBC yapping. Multiple people talking about everything from the conditions to the crowd to the actual game.
Meanwhile 106,000 waited in traffic, long lines and sub freezing temperatures. All the while NBC, and we assume Canadian announcers too, talked away stating the obvious.
This is typical of NBC Sports (their MLS coverage is well documented on this site) and it’s becoming the norm with other broadcasters as well. Later in the day ESPN and the Rose Bowl had a designated kickoff time of 2pm PST when in reality they kicked the ball off closer to 2:15-2:20.
It can’t all be blamed on the broadcasters though. The leagues and the viewing guides deserve some blame. Lord knows what broadcasters paid for the rights and have to create as much commercial time as possible to try and make a profit on these events. This is a business after all. On the other hand, the NHL and NBC are leaving people in the freezing cold, waiting.
The question becomes at what point do people turn away? Is this alienating the fans, not only in the stadium but also at home? It’s hard to say but one has to imagine that the fans have a breaking point. You’re starting to see it with attendance at games. In fact, three NFL teams are facing TV blackouts this playoff weekend including the Green Bay Packers.
There is a threshold to be reached. Where that is no one knows. However it is only fair for broadcasters to say exactly what time actual play will begin. In the mean time get use to more talking and less playing at the beginning of broadcasts.