The Etch A Sketch is Back!

I’m off and on watching the Russia-Spain basketball semifinals right now and I happened to look up during a timeout and guess what the Spain coach is using to draw up play during a timeout? An Etch A Sketch with basketball lines on it:

Pretty cool, huh?

This also gives me a chance to praise BBC’s coverage of the Olympics. I was extremely upset with NBC’s coverage, but I’m on a family trip right now in Europe and have had the chance to watch a lot of coverage on BBC. They are showing everything live and on TV. The commentators have been terrific, nearly all experts in the sports they cover. It does help that the games are all timed so the best events are in prime time – I have no doubt NBC’s coverage would be significantly better if everything was in the Eastern time zone. But still, it has been a true pleasure to watch the Olympics over here – and that’s how it should be.


NBC’s Olympics Coverage: A Disaster

I meant to comment on this Monday, but didn’t have time so I’m a few days late in agreeing with every other American that NBC has completely ruined the Olympics thus far. The station’s coverage has been nothing short of despicable. The biggest, brightest international event of the year (of the two years) and NBC has looted every last cent out of it.

Their online streaming has been brutal with streams going down constantly and advertisements popping up at the most inconvenient moments. For the best events, NBC won’t even show them live, waiting for prime time instead. That means all of us sports fan are forced to watch on a miserable stream, many times missing the event because of it. Even worse is when a commercial comes on right at the peak moment. I can’t begin to say how outrageous and utterly appalling their coverage has been.

Over at Grantland, Shane Ryan went on a rant like the rest of us on Monday:

But we are living in the age of the spoiler. People are going to find out the results if they’re around the Internet, television, or other humans. They just are. And if they don’t want to know? They’re going to avoid everything, including NBC stations. So, my question: How does it change anything if you broadcast the events live in the afternoon?? (emphasis Shane’s) The people who watch prime time are still going to watch prime time. They’re ALREADY avoiding TV, presumably while at work, and it wouldn’t change anything to throw the rest of us a bone and put the swimming on CNBC. I mean, they even announce the results on the NBC news show that leads into the prime-time coverage! Even the rest of NBC isn’t avoiding spoilers! AHHHH THIS RAGE IS GOING TO KILL ME! I should probably just give up and light my TV on fire, right?

While I can’t be sure of this, but I think NBC makes more money off advertisements by showing the event on TV just at night than twice. If NBC showed it twice, the large chunk of us that would watch it live on CNBC would not tune in at night. The ad revenue would be split between the live CNBC showing and the prime time NBC one. Certainly, the NBC advertisements would be worth less than they are now and CNBC would receive greater ad revenue from showing it live.

However, I hypothesize that NBC receives greater revenue from showing it all in prime time. Why? Because a lot of us are watching twice: once during work on our crappy little streams that fail constantly and again in brilliant HD with American announcers while laying on our coaches. That means that NBC is getting revenue from those internet ads and from the NBC prime time showing, much more than they would receive if they showed the events twice on TV. I think that’s just how the math worked out. Putting all the viewers together at one time was just more economical for NBC.

Now, it’s still an extremely slimy move. It’s the Olympics. NBC should have just sucked up the loss. In fact, if they had covered it well, they could have gained regular viewers for their other shows, but nope, instead they chose the greedy route. Well, the station has rightfully taken a huge amount of backlash for their coverage and if anything, will lose viewers. That’s entirely deserved, but it doesn’t make it any better for the rest of us who are continually frustrated by this pathetic coverage.

Does Anyone Care About the Tour de France?

The Tour de France enters the 18th stage tomorrow with Lance Armstrong currently residing in 4th place while Alberto Contador continues to hold the yellow jersey. And yet I say, who cares.

When Armstrong dominated cycling and proved that America could win a sport that they didn’t care about, the Tour de France was slightly interesting. With Armstrong leisurely sitting in the fourth position and Contador quickly pulling away from the field, I have absolutely no reason to follow the race. ESPN shows updates of where Armstrong is and what stage there in, but it lasts maybe three minutes and is entirely focused on the aging American. It’s not just me that doesn’t care. No one cares.

Cycling has been undermined by doping and steroids so much that the little interest that existed beforehand has disappeared. Armstrong was, and to an extent still is, an icon. Livestrong. The man who beat cancer and came back to win the Tour de France. Then allegations of cheating arose. Nothing has been proven and nothing every will be, but the rumors still exist. Armstrong’s legacy has suffered a big blow. And with that, my interest in the Tour de France dwindled so cycling as a whole has suffered a big blow. Continue reading “Does Anyone Care About the Tour de France?”