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October 25, 2014

If ESPN Gets the Olympics, It Would Ditch Tape Delay

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 26th 2010 4:03PM
ESPNAs we talked about in this week's edition of the TV Squad Podcast, NBC is getting a lot of bad press (again) for their programming decisions for the Olympics. Too much focus on personal drama, too many odd interviews interrupting events, and tape delays. That last one is what irks people the most, and one network says that if they had the Olympics they wouldn't have a tape delay, they'd show everything live.

That network is ESPN. They're going to bid on the 2014 winter games and the 2016 summer games, and if they win, they're going to scrap the whole tape delay thing.

Of course, this is ESPN we're talking about. Not only do they have several different channels to show the games on, they're a sports network anyway, so they have more time slots and more resources to show everything live. At the same time, NBC has a lot of different channels too (NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, USA, etc) and they could show events live if they wanted, but they're gearing things toward their primetime schedule.

The Olympics are still bringing in great ratings for NBC though. Are the tape delays and other NBC decisions ruining the games for you? Personally I just want to see my scripted shows back on the air.

[via TV Week]

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dand1234

When ABC had the Olympics they broadcast most of the events live, but at the very least they shifted the west coast prime time to match the east coast prime, aka like Monday Night Football. I really dispise NBC for making the West Coast viewers get taped delayed coverage when it's live on the East.

The thing about ESPN getting the rights, I don't doubt that they'd show all of the events live. Because they make their money by the outrageous carriage fees they charge to cable and satellite companies, I'm sure their would be a huge increase they'll demand if they land the Olympics. So basically viewers would be paying for it anyway, aka the Triple cast from the '92 Olymics.(which I actually paid for and was great, everything live, every preliminary event covered, no commericals, when contrasted with NBC free coverage that was worse than normal that year, if an American won a gold the event was milked the entire three hour broadcast.)

February 27 2010 at 8:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Justin

Can someone tell me how ESPN has killed sports? If you avoid the pointless bantering shows featuring Skip Bayless, Michael Wilbon, and Tony Kornheiser, all it is is just the game and analysis with very little opinion.

Besides, is someone going to tell me that the good announcing teams on ESPN are worse than Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Greg Gumbal, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, and the rest of the network shlock that sucks the life out of everything? I'm not saying ESPN doesn't have its share of poor announcers and play-by-play guys and gals but that's why the worst of them are stuck doing pointless games on ESPNU most of the time.

ESPN with the Olympics might make them interesting. NBC needed to find a common ground of showing events live and then showing the important highlights and well-received events in prime time. It would please both audiences and still garner plenty of ratings. I think most would agree that if a prominent American won gold in an event earlier in the day, the likelihood that the majority of NBC's audience viewing it as it happened would either not have caught all of it or would be happy to view it again.

February 27 2010 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CC

I'm on the West Coast, so I am used to tape-delays. I remember during the '96 Games, they used to broadcast stuff throughout the day. It seems like NBC hasn't shown very much during the day (or if they do, it's events with less interest), but I guess it also has to do with location (USA vs Canada) and the fact that these are the Winter Games, instead of Summer.

The only thing that is annoying, for me, is that there are events occurring at 7pm to 11pm (for example) in Vancouver - NBC could show these events live on the West Coast since it's primetime anyway. But they don't - they push it back by showing us taped coverage of an earlier event. The earlier event is already delayed - you might as well just delay it even more and show us something live!

I felt NBC has toned down the personal sob stories a bit - either that or I just have been fortunate enough not to catch them. Except for the whole Lindsey Vonn's shin injury thing, that is. Other than that, there was no fawning over an athlete like they did with Michael Phelps in 2008. Thank goodness.

I don't have cable so if ESPN ends up broadcasting the Olympics, I hope they do show the major events on ABC. Maybe they can also stream stuff on ESPN360.com? That would be great since I get access via my ISP.

February 26 2010 at 9:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Anonymoose

As much as I want to see the end of tape delay in the Olympics, ESPN would completely ruin it. Their commentators and analysts know nothing about the sport they cover or they know so much they over-explain things.

February 26 2010 at 9:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chris

I love the Olympics. I would like to see the end of tape delay. But I can't say I'm terribly disappointed with NBC either. I'm only bummed that my MSNBC feed is not in HD. But once the Olympics are over I won't care anyway. Scripted shows? Gotta watch cable for that man.

February 26 2010 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve

I don't really care about the tape delay. I've rarely been watching the olympics live anyway. I just do my best to avoid news from the afternoon events, then dvr record the primetime coverage every night and watch about an hour or two of it, fast forwarding through commercials, boring events, qualifying events, and some athletes that aren't in medal contention or don't have interesting stories.

I'll watch like the top 3 or 4 figure skaters and skip the rest, and the top skiers/snowboarders/speedskaters,etc., so that I can still get a sense of drama and anticipation but don't have to sit through every qualifying heat or athlete whose "just participating in the olympics experience".

The primetime coverage does a good job of encapsulating the most interesting events of the day though, even if tape delayed. If nothing were tape delayed and only aired live throughout, it would be very difficult to find the most interesting events/runs/athletes to watch and you would end up missing a lot.

February 26 2010 at 6:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toolman

Please please please don't let ESPN get their hands on the Olympics and let them ruin another sport/event.

Nothing they have ever done has been good, for any sport. I don't care if they will not tape delay the events, they will still be awful.

The NBC tape delay hasn't really bothered me, not my preference but not a deal killer either.

February 26 2010 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Toolman's comment
JD

ESPN has killed just about every sport they have touched. They have put me off from watching NFL, something I tough never could happen.


And if they were to get the games, your cable/sat bills will go up up up. They always bid BIG money to show something and then stick it to the cable companies for us to pay for it. If you want something live, there will be NO time for them to sell commercials.

February 26 2010 at 7:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Seth

The whole tape delay thing jumped the shark a few nights ago when NBC was advertising at 8pm that Lindsey Vonn would be on in 22 minutes, despite the fact that it had been well publicized all day that she had wiped out. You pretty much had to avoid going online, using twitter, etc. all day not to know how uneventful she was going to be.

February 26 2010 at 5:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Homegrown

The delays suck. They've ruined something like four hockey games for me by broadcasting the end score *before they air the game*.
I mean, come on.

February 26 2010 at 5:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wince

That sucks espn took away MNF and next year there getting the BCS bowl games, when are they going to get nailed for a monopoly? I refuse to pay for cable because its outrageously overpriced for a bunch of garbage channels nobody wants and a few worth watching.

February 26 2010 at 5:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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