NBCfail Retrospective – Abysmal Olympic Road Cycling Coverage

Long after the 2012 London Olympics have ended, my anger over NBC’s awful-miserable-amateurish Olympic coverage–especially the live streaming of the road cycling events–has subsided only a little. Here are some thoughts:

NBCfail’s online Olympic road cycling event coverage <insert verb beginning with “s” related to vacuum cleaners here>, was substandard, underpowered, poorly directed, and worse. In honor of the infamous Twitter hashtag #NBCfail dedicated to NBC’s Olympic failings, I refer to the network as  #NBCfail below.

1. #NBCfail interrupted live streaming of the road cycling events–during critical time splits–with ads for VISA, Coke, and some car company–products in which I have zero interest at that hour. (My wife and I had arisen as early as 4 AM PDT to watch these races live and uninterrupted, thinking–foolishly–that #NBCfail  would do as well with the Olympics as they had with the Tour de France (TDF).
2. #NBCfail  provided NO commentary on the first–and the most important to roadies like us–cycling events: the women’s and men’s Olympic road races and time trials. Where were Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen?
3. #NBCfail ‘s camera crews and camera work were much worse than the Tour de France (TDF) coverage we had just watched during July–especially from the motorcycle (“moto”) crews. And the director’s choices of  “newsworthy” or significant instant replays were really amateurish and sub-par.
4. #NBCfail  clearly did not have sufficient clear bandwidth to provide uninterrupted streaming of its various (poor) live camera feeds from the cycling events. Interruptions were frequent.
  • Why did #NBCfail  go to such great lengths to avoid using so many readily-available “best practices,” — even its own?
  • WHAT IF #NBCfail Had Been Smart–or Not So Greedy….????
 #NBCfail could have used “crawler” ads that do not interrupt live coverage–like professional soccer broadcasts–but they were either too dumb or too greedy (guess which?) to use them. 
(Why are we bothering to pay for this, anyway?
3. #NBCfail could have covered the Olympic cycling events well–like they themselves cover the  Tour de France every year. We pay #NBCfail (formerly Versus, formerly Outdoor Life Network) good money  every year to watch the live, online TDF coverage and hear the superb commentary by Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen. (Despite beginning at 4-6 AM PDT almost daily for three weeks straight, it’s worth every penny of cash and hour of missed sleep.)
As far as #NBCfail was concerned–especially on prime time– a) cycling was not an Olympic event, and b) only USA athletes were competing at the Olympics.
Especially with all the prime-time “Olympic fluff,” we were never even tempted to watch #NBCfail‘s TV coverage at any time, prime or otherwise. (We remember watching many previous Olympics, predigested according to  jingoistic NBCfail’s greedy censor-editors… d
We soon tired of  the invasive, repetitive ads and the poor quality of the coverage, giving up on the ‘live” coverage after tiring of  the invasive, repetitive, and interrupting ads, not to mention the poor quality of the coverage itself. (see above, or #NBCfail on Twitter.) We passed on the chance to see the Olympic track cycling, gymnastics, water polo, and other events that were important to us. (We caught up on them through online news sources rather than watching them live. At least we got more sleep.)
We would have GLADLY watched BBC’s live streaming but the BBC’s live stream was blocked in the USA and we had no access to an alternate feed, being on Apple computers. (I almost committed heresy and bought a PC just to gain access to the PC-only app and feed…)
After this awful  2012 Olympics experience I will do anything possible to avoid watching #NBCfail for any reason, especially for sports coverage. 
NBC  must have wanted to produce this end result: they sure did a great job of convincing us to avoid #NBCfail ‘s Olympic coverage–and NBCfail in general– like the plague. 

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