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.

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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.

That Didn’t Last Long

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Jaryyd Hayne’s venture into the NFL didn’t last long. In fact it lasted only one full season. Hayne ‘retired’ this past week to return to the world of rugby. Specifically he is playing with Fiji Rugby Sevens team in the Olympics this summer. Does this effect future non-football athletes from getting a shot in the NFL?

When Hayne left the Parramatta Eels he said, ‘I’m always telling people to chase their dreams and follow their hearts, if I don’t live by that I’m not being honest with myself.’ Now instead of sticking to that dream he is giving up on it to pursue another one.

While his circumstances have changed with the San Francisco 49ers as they changed out head coaches this off-season (Jim Tomsula is out and Chip Kelly is in). Kelly said that he was ‘surprised’ by Hayne’s decision but that he understood it. This leads one to believe that Hayne did have a shot at the 49ers roster with the new coach and that continuing his dream of playing the NFL was still a viable option.

It was less than a week a go that the 49ers were talking about how they expected Hayne to make a ‘major impact’ with the team in 2016.

Hayne could have been a solid NFL player. A great player? Maybe but the percentages of that were probably low and maybe that was a deciding factor is his decision to leave and pursue yet another dream. The fact is is that only Hayne knows for sure. What we do know is that Hayne had a legitimate shot at becoming a solid NFL player and I wish him the best of luck in the Olympics.

NBC SPORTS….JUST KICK THE DAMN BALL OFF

When Comcast purchased NBC from GE you knew some changes were coming. Versus turned into the NBC Sports Network which now broadcasts MLS matches and CFL games. But as much as things change they always stay the same. NBC Sports continues to put themselves before the fan and the viewer.

NBC broadcast the first NFL game of the season between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants. They star this by dragging out a 90 minute pre game show and right when you think they’re going to kick the ball off they give us an open telling us who the Producer and Director of the show are. They then drag it out a little more with the commentators giving us….I don’t know, more insight I guess. They do the same thing with MLS on the NBC Sports Network. It’s says that kick off is at 4pm but in reality the ball is being kicked off at 4:30. Meanwhile fans and players are left standing around as NBC tries to educate us some more.

Here’s a news flash NBC, KICK THE DAMN BALL OFF. No one cares who the Producer or Director is, and I come from a world where I may know these people. I’m not here for a rock concert or a highlight show or pre game interviews. I’m here for a game.

The kicker to all of this is the flat out pandering of the broadcast. Guys it’s a second half not a second act (actual graphic). This is a football game not a Shakespearean play. I know Toyota is a big sponsor but I can go without the extended commercial with Eli Manning at halftime.

Now NBC Sports is not all bad. They do do some innovative things like streaming the Sunday Night Football game online with multiple camera angles or placing the color commentator on the sidelines of MLS matches. He’s right between the benches and can give more insight on tactics and the momentum of the game.

While they have been innovative they also take massive steps backward with just boneheaded maneuvers. I hate to tell NBC this but I’m not watching The Voice so stop showing me ads for it. I’m here to watch football or soccer and I know I’m not alone.

I understand why MLS will go along with what NBC wants to do because it’s helping the MLS gain more viewers and they are still trying to gain a significant foot hold in the American sports spectrum. Why the NFL does I don’t know. The NFL recently made a rule stating that if you get thrown out of game you’ll have to go through a class to be allowed in the stadium again. I suppose they’re trying to make the NFL game a more family oriented environment but if they are trying to do that then why do they allow NBC to kick the game off at 8:30pm EST on a school night?

I can’t criticize NBC when it comes to the Olympics because I didn’t watch them. Why? Re-read the above. If NBC screws up the NFL and MLS why would I trust them to broadcast the Olympics?

NBC can fix these things. It’s not hard but they have to first get off their high horse and stop thinking that ‘they know what people want to see’ cause they don’t. I want to watch sports and if you’re not going to show it to me then I’ll just watch a channel that will.