nbc’s olympic zeros

Once again, NBC blows it. First late night. Then snowboarding with swears, and of course hockey. What next?

National Bullshit Channel.

The head honchos over at NBC completely misread the entire Jay Leno scenario and guessed wrong on a gamble. They thought, incorrectly, they could shift Jay and his style to a completely different time slot doing a completely different style of show and people would just accept it.

Let’s start at the beginning with this whole hockey hack. Remember, one of the all time great Winter Olympic moments was a hockey moment, in 1980 when the USA team beat the Red Army team in order to advance to the medal round (later winning the Gold). Hockey is a cornerstone to the success of the Games and still a great source of national pride for some of the biggest competing nations.

The rumor is the network (in conjunction with the NHL who the network partners with on occasion for broadcast rights) pressured the Olympics to switch from the traditional international hockey rules to the NHL rules including the smaller, tighter NHL rink size, believing it would increase interest in the sport.

If this is indeed true, it could be conspiracy theory assumed to ensure the USA and Canadian teams that are overwhelmingly made up of North American professional players can play on familiar NHL ice with familiar NHL rules – as opposed to the other teams (apart from the Russians) who are predominantly from international play. It would handicap the international teams in making the transition to the less familiar rink sizes while protecting the NHL elite from possible injury on an ice surface less familiar to them. It would ensure the story line everyone wants by giving North America an edge and, in as such, potentially boost ratings and therefore awareness among casual sports fans.

But it’s done under some kind of rouse that thinks by going with the de facto North American standards for the game it’ll “feel” more familiar to viewers. So far, the typical NHL rink rules do not seem to be making for monumental ratings… then again, it’s not like these games are being broadcast at times or on channels making for the possibility the fans will be more into the harder hitting North American style.

Nothing But Curling

In the Leno Situation they hung in their with their decision way too long and watched irreparable damage begin to happen to both the Tonight Show now hosted by Conan O’Brian and the new Leno franchise. As the two struggled with ratings and the affiliates threatened to flee, the network remained steadfast it was doing the right thing. Only to find out it had done so much wrong it ended up losing more than face in the end when Conan left.

Again, the NBC is taking a huge gamble in its broadcast schedule for the games. It relegates too many of the games to tertiary networks that have zero normal sports viewership and at times that attempt to protect these channels normally well rated shows, hence providing us games on several hour delays at very impractical hours and with the possibility of still running into pre-empting and delayed starts.

Not just any games are at crazy times either, all the group two games including (and with a 1 AM broadcast time perhaps featuring) Russia in a very xenophobic fashion. Actually, the Russians carry among the top three in recognizable player names even outside hockey circles, among the top three of NHL level players (current and former) and are heavily favored to metal (actually, in many circles favored for the gold). So, what to do with those former Soviets? Relegate them and all the rest of the group 2 games to the NBC equivalent of a black hole. Sounds like another North American handicapping conspiracy, though, it’s probably not.

Then, there’s the situation the other day where Curling took precedent over hockey, Canadian hockey featuring one of the better groups of guys to hit the ice this side of an All-Star game including NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s poster boy and Stanley Cup winner Sidney Crosby. NBC apparently spent so much money in hyping this incredibly little known sport that only has relevance at the Games in order to bring it any ratings on it that when one of the matches ran long it ate into half the first period of the hockey game, which then bounced the hockey game between two different NBC networks (and not even seemlessly either, mind you, the cut over resulted in what seemed nearly 4 minutes of lost hockey). Listen, I know there is a perception the NHL games do not draw fans during the regular season (or, at times the post-season as well), but Olympic Hockey is different, it’s not about teams it’s about national pride, it’s not about the game as a game, it’s about it’s historical place in the Games… Again, lest we forget the miracle on ice!

Normally Bad Creations

NBC then butchered the whole PR element of Jay and Conan and the rest of their late night staff, taking a pie in the face from all the hosts on their network and every other psuedo comedian in the English speaking world.

Now they are taking that same pie in the face from the fans of hockey as boards light up on their “coverage” of the games including another spectacular choice of not airing USA/Canada on the main network in real time coming up, but what’s even worse is their web execution of the games. For the Beijing Summer Games, in part due to the time delay, there was incredible coverage of the games online, but for the Winter, in an effort to force as many eyes to the boob tube as possible even with its asinine schedule, online coverage is severely hampered. You HAVE to have a cable, satellite or telco TV provider AND you have to have some kind of digital account to log into in order to even use the majority of the site for starters. Let me tell you, my cable provider is lucky they have me as a customer and I am not able to ditch them, or I would, but there is no way I would give them digital access to me. I hate it enough they have my address and phone number to flood me with propaganda, I don’t need they emailing me too! Imagine if you had chosen to be a cable-free house, your internet would be useless and your ability to partake in this event would be even more hampered. Great job NBC by alienating eyeballs, the same eyeballs you NEED to lure to keep your advertising up and since your sales for broadcast continue to be rocky those all important integrations require a seemless web experience, one you are not providing, which is why Yahoo! gets all of my hits when regarding the games and not your site right now!

But, even beyond the poor overall execution, have the half-assed TV coverage itself, let but pro-schmuck Mike Milbury, who’s about as knowledgeable about a frozen half inch of rubber as Encino Man. Seriously, as a commentator I could get someone who’s never seen ice in their life or heard of the concept of competitive sports to call a better game than him and his profound ability to take his skills to a new level for the Games is downright astonishing (although, Roenick does a fantastic job at trying to check the obviously misunderstanding into the boards being he’s not a sportscaster). If NBC tried any harder to get less qualified people they would have stolen Joe Buck from Fox.

Needlessly Boring Commentary

So late nights are relegated back to the rickety racket Leno was beginning to lose the faith of network execs with, Conan come September will be let lose on some other network to terrorize the late night youth and in the mean time Letterman gets to bask in the glory not so much different than Ford as it watched Chrysler, than GM and now Toyota fall apart around it.

And so NBC pushed headlong into the forthcoming medal rounds, ones that could feature some combination of USA-Canada-Russia for some truly engaging and amazing story lines only to sit back on their hands and hope no one really notices they don’t care about broadcasting those games any more than they care about providing their viewers with anything more than any other entertainment experience. The NHL does a HUGE favor to the Olympics AND to the Olympic partner NBC to allow its season to grind to a hault and send it’s top players (many in the hunt for the Cup) to play for their national teams. Furthermore, NBC is the NHL’s partner as well. You would think all things being equal that NBC would at least TRY to provide some type of real value to the sport, show it some respect, maybe even play up to it’s heritage since this is even an anniversary year for the Miracle on Ice.

Nope, it’s more like Nationally Broadcasting Crap, just as it has been for quite some time. Just be careful, next thing you know they might replace the Olympics themselves with Mr. Leno

About thedoormouse

I am I. That’s all that i am. my little mousehole in cyberspace of fiction, recipes, sacrasm, op-ed on music, sports, and other notations both grand and tiny: https://thedmouse.wordpress.com/about-thedmouse/
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4 Responses to nbc’s olympic zeros

  1. Slamdunk says:

    The hockey shift was a mistake, and NBCs fumbles have not helped their coverage.

    • thedoormouse says:

      agree, goofs happen like that, but like you said they aren’t helping themselves with how they handle the situations, that’s why i was likening some of the hockey gaffes to the problems they also created in the leno-obrien scenario… alas, that’s the way the puck bounces

  2. bobby maro says:

    Did you see that Mulberry, Roenick tirade.. Ovie is way better than crysby…. Ughhhh NBC.. You got it right sir.. The national brodcasting of crap channel… way to go! Cheers to the doormouse!


    • thedoormouse says:

      Never Been Cool… damned why I didn’t think of that one earlier??

      Yes, I saw the clip. Mulberry misses a VERY big point (not that Roenick made it either) and that’s the Stanley Cup is a TEAM award, it reflects the entire team’s ability. Think about some of the bumbs whos names ARE carved on the Cup but are no where near even average players. So what if Crosby’s team happened to get there before Ovi’s team, that’s not a reflection of Ovi, that’s a reflection of a developing Caps franchise versus a very well developed Pens franchise. As individual players, Ovi wins both awards wise and on KPI stats hands down and even to the casual observer is a much more exciting player based on his flair for dramatic (and often circusesque) goals as well as his overall on ice passion (read: exuberance)

      Ovi was the first player to win the Art Ross Trophy (x2), Maurice Richard Trophy (x2), Lester B. Pearson Award and Hart Memorial Trophy (x2), all in the same season plus Calder Memorial Trophy, Kharlamov Trophy (x4), Sporting News Player of the Year (x2), 3x All Star selection, 4x First-team NHL (+ Rookie Year first-team) and is already hitting huge career benchmarks, some in record time and already setting NHL records for his position (as opposed to Crosby who’s only individual records are Youngest ever to… which is age only, had the Panther’s gotten Ovi in the draft before the lockout as they originally picked and the lockout not pushed back Ovi’s NHL debut – it’s quite possible “youngest ever” stats could be much different)

      NHL career stats Ovi v Crosby 05 rookie season to break:
      GP 378 v 351
      Goals 261 v 174 GPG ave: 0.69 v 0.49
      Assist 258 v 301 APG ave: 0.68 v 0.85
      Points 509 v 475 PPG ave: 1.34 v 1.34
      +/- +62 v +39
      PP goal 88 v 54 & PP assist 112 v 144 & game winners 39 v 20
      SOG 2014 for a .126 ave v 1146 for a .149 ave

      This is a very cursory overview of KPIs. They both contribute roughly equally in pure points wise per game. It gives Crosby a slight edge in SOG Ave and a win in Assists metrics overall BUT every other cat. going squarely to Ovi. Those who knock Ovi though should remember, he’s a winger, not a center, first of all (and like most wingers he shoots not passes), and second, if you doubt his ability to share the puck, look at Nick Backstrom’s numbers, who would be the most likely recipient of Ovi’s contribution on the ice and Nick’s no slouch either since 2007 when he broke in:

      GP 226
      Goals 62 GPG ave: .275
      Assist 171 APG ave: .756
      Points 233 PPG ave: 1.03
      +/- +33
      PP goal 28 & PP assist 68 & game winners 8
      SOG 493 for a .126 ave

      Both Ovi and Backstrom are among the league leaders this season (both T3 points & +/-, T10 Assists, T15 scoring w/ Ovi at #1) making them one of the most dangerous pairings in the league again. Which is contrasting with that of Crosby and his line.

      Since there really aren’t leadership stats per se, the best one can use is Wins versus ice time as captain. Since Ovi only took the Captain’s C this season it’s sadly not even close as a comparison Ovi’s team went on a rampage where he and a number of players eradicated the competition helping solidify the Caps at the top of the NHL standing with the franchise record breaking streak beginning around the time Ovi became Captain. It’s a small sample size, but probably speaks volumes about what he can be capable of now that he’s more comfortable with the language / culture and the Caps franchise.

      So, in that, I inquire to Mullburry, or anyone else for that matter, how can you even class the two as being remotely the same?

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