NBC Comes Around

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 4.4.2017

NBC Sports announced last week that the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea will be not be taped delayed. That’s right, you can watch curling live on the East Coast and the West Coast at the same time. Of course primetime television in America means that it’s early morning and the next day in South Korea which is 14 hours ahead of New York, so take it with a grain of salt. The bigger question is, what took them so long?

It’s pretty sad that we have to be excited about the Olympics being live on the East Coast and West Coast simultaneously. It is 2017 after all. According to Jim Bell, President of NBC Olympics Production and Programming, That means social media won’t be ahead of the action in any time zone, and as a result, none of our viewers will have to wait for anything. This is exciting news for the audience, the advertisers, and our affiliates alike.”

This is almost comical. A publicly traded company (NBC is owned by Comcast) is actually pointing out that ‘none of our viewers will have to wait for anything’ in a press release in the age of Netflix, Amazon Prime and content on demand on just about every device under the sun.

So what took so long?

Look, it’s TV folks brought up in a TV world. NBC and it’s parent company Comcast make their money with cable subscriptions and ad revenue which means that they will do whatever they can to protect this. In this case a decline in viewership and increase in ‘cord cutters’ means that they have to cave and finally give the audience what it wants which is the Olympics live from coast to coast.

It’s also a fact that NBC wouldn’t be doing this if social media didn’t let everyone know the results of events that were being tape delayed in Rio. This mistake, which resulted in a 17% decline between the Rio games and the London games, shouldn’t have been a surprise but it apparently was to NBC and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It’s pretty mind blowing that NBC didn’t see that coming.

Will the Olympics being live in America be a major deal? It shouldn’t but it’s pretty much a guarantee that NBC will advertise the bejesus out of the fact. But in all seriousness, the Olympics will be in 2018 and they are just now being shown live coast to coast?  I guess it’s NBC’s way of making America great again.

Hope Less?

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Hope Solo. Where do we begin? Solo’s latest exploits were comments she made after losing to Sweden in the quarterfinals of the Olympics. She said, “We played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today. I strongly, firmly believe that.” It may not seem like much but it was enough to land her a six month suspension from US Soccer.

It appears that Solo’s comments were enough to break US Soccer’s back. Let’s be honest, it wasn’t these comment’s specifically but the culmination of all of Solo’s incidents. The domestic violence case, the DUI of her husband that resulted in a 30 day suspension, and the countless moments that made her a lightning rod for controversy.

She is also quite possibly the best female goalkeeper in history. Over 200 caps, over 100 shutouts, and 152 wins. Her on the field heroics kept her critics at bay but it appears that those days have come to an end.

Vice Sports brought up an interesting perspective on Solo’s suspension, they called it hypocritical and sexist.  That part is up for debate but the fact remains that Solo is one of the most recognizable figures in women’s soccer, the best keeper in the world and now suspended for six months.

Is this the end? Time will tell. But ironically, her talent’s may keep hope alive that she will take the field for the US National Team again.

They Are Not Role Models Nor Should They Be

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


While the media (social and otherwise) chimes in and/or freaks out about Ryan Lochte and the swimming funky bunch and their robbery/non robbery/guns drawn/payoff story, it’s important to remember that the average age of the Olympians is 26 years old. That doesn’t excuse moronic behavior by any means but it should, in some small way, give people pause before putting these athletes on pedestals that they can’t in anyway balance on.

Breaking news: drunk Americans do dumb things while abroad. 

Ryan LochteThe Lochte story isn’t new. Back at the Seoul games in 1988, two US Swimmers were arrested for stealing a marble lion head from a hotel. Of course we are all aware of Michael Phelps transgressions outside of the games but somehow NBC spun that into story of redemption. The fact is that things like this are going to happen even thought they shouldn’t. And guess what? They are going to happen again.

Why do they happen? Well you put a bunch of youngsters in high pressure situations that they have been training for for years, put them on a pedestal and then it’s done. The moment has passed. The people at NBC have stopped calling you. Yeah, these folks are  going to blow off steam and there is a helluva lot of it. Does it excuse their behavior? No. But it’s not like they are the first ones to do something stupid while overseas.

Along the same lines, it’s also why they are handing out bags of condoms to athletes and tinder usage is through the roof.

In Lochte’s case, he should know better. He is 32 years old and unless you are a member of congress, you shouldn’t be acting like this.

NBC made these athletes role models to sell ad’s. Money which non of these athletes see. Not many of them asked to be on this pedestal to begin with. So everyone, take a breath along with a step back and relax.

Empty Seats And Empty Pockets

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


It’s been pretty obvious if you have been paying attention, empty seats at the Olympics. The Wall Street Journal ran a piece on it and from most accounts, it’s pretty bad. While people can point to various reasons why, it seems pretty obvious, cost.

According to the Journal’s article, ticket prices range from $88 a piece for the taekwondo to $434 for the women’s basketball gold medal game. Apparently 70% of the tickets went to Brazil for the games. A country with an impeached president, an economy that contracted 3.8% last year and where the average monthly income is $678. When you look at it that way, of course there are empty seats.

TICKETS

This is no knock on Brazil. They are only guilty of buying into the International Olympic Committee (IOC) hype. ‘Bring the Olympics and look at all the money you’ll make!’ ‘Showcase your city to the world!’

Big lies.

If you haven’t read Andrew Zimbalist’s ‘Circus Maximus’ then go read it now. The Olympics folks is not about the athletes and it’s not even about the economic benefits to the city. It’s about a couple of people making money. The really sad part is that the residents of the city that’s hosts the games are the ones picking up the bill for the cost overruns.

ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight posted an article called ‘Hosting The Olympics Is A Terrible Investment.’ They point out that the Rio games are only 50% over budget. 50%! They say only 50% because that is on the low end. Brazil has been hit hard economically and there is no disposable income to spend on rhythmic gymnastics.

Just to pour a little more gasoline on the fire, today an IOC executive was taken to the hospital after police carried out a raid at his beachfront house as part of an investigation into, essentially, ticket scalping.

Ticket prices are high to see Usain Bolt or Katie Ledecky fade their competition because the IOC needs to make the money. If the average person can’t afford it than the IOC will shrug it’s shoulders and say ‘oh well’. It’s not fair to the athletes to compete in half empty venues and it’s not fair to some of the fans who want to go but can’t afford it. But in reality, what does the IOC care when they have executives accused of selling tickets above face value and collecting 70% of the revenue from TV deals anyway?

And people wonder why there are empty seats.