Imagine yourself as Linsey Vonn yesterday – a native of Saint Paul, Minnesota, who has been working her whole life, since she was two years old, to bring home an Olympic gold in women’s downhill skiing.
She finally does it, gives hugs to her family in the stands, and picks up a cell phone to call some close friends from home.
Only one thing – nobody wants to answer the phone. Not because they’re not interested, but because nobody has seen it yet. NBC wouldn’t be airing her performance until later that night, on prime time television, when more people were watching.
This post is about power.
We all know – money is a big driver of power. Unfortunately for all of us, nowhere is this more apparent than NBC’s broadcast coverage of the 2010 Olympics.
What do I mean? Well, advertising money, more-so than monumental athletic performances, are influencing NBC’s broadcast decisions during the 2010 Olympics.
NBC is infuriating millions of fans by tape-delaying important events. People online are freaking out, and media publications are picking up on it. Need examples? Read this article by Henry Blodget of Business Insider or today’s piece by Sports Illustrated, or yesterday’s piece in the New York Times.
NBC infuriated millions of “people like me” when they tape-delayed one of America’s treasures – quite possibly the most-discussed performance about a female athlete (ever) – the women’s downhill (i.e., “The Lindsay Vonn Show”).
Yesterday, when Vonn performed, I sent around the NYTimes alert saying Vonn had won the gold with the message “yay!” One of my WomenTalkSports friends was a little annoyed that I had ruined the surprise. She apparently was waiting in anticipation to watch in on TV later that night.
While I understand where she’s coming from, that’s not the world that I live in. I don’t “wait” for things anymore. I demand access to real-time updates and breaking news stories because that’s what I deserve as a consumer. And that’s exactly what NBC should be broadcasting.
The world of “primetime” is, in my opinion, somewhat fabricated. NBC wants us to live in a world that’s very far from reality. Vonn won the gold before any of us got to see it.