Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard that Michael Phelps did not medal in his first final of the Olympics, the 400 meter IM. Meanwhile, fellow American rival, Ryan Lochte, won gold in the event.
Now that the results of the race are out of the way, the next question becomes: where did you find out the results? Twitter? Facebook? NBC’s online streaming of the games? A friend? If the answer is one of those four then you know the problem: you didn’t find out from NBC’s televised coverage.
And therein lies the biggest controversy of this year’s Olympic games.
With at least a five hour time difference between London and the USA, NBC has fixed their schedule so that the primetime events (ie. swimming, gymnastics, diving) with the premier athletes (ie. Phelps, Lochte, Jordyn Wieber, Tom Daley) are previously recorded and aired from 7 pm into the rest of the night.
Fans are not only annoyed that they know the results before watching the event, but that NBC releases the results during the Nightly News minutes before they turn to Olympic coverage. (Anchors will warn viewers in the future that spoilers are coming).
NBC has been flooded with tweets from angry fans and the hashtags #NBCSucks and #NBCFail started trending soon after the Phelps/Lochte spoiler.
We’re with you, Michael Phelps: eight hour later! #NBCsucks
— pete_dude (@pete_dude) July 29, 2012
— Zach Woosley (@GingeFC) July 29, 2012
UPDATE: Twitter users will now see that #NBCFail has been changed to #NBC in the trending topics.
In addition to taped delay issues, fans have also complained over what events are shown on the broadcast network versus its cable channels. For instance, Sunday morning marked the first USA men’s basketball game, but instead of airing it on NBC’s main network, it was pushed to a cable channel.
NBC did everything in its power to make this the most social games in history, but they are now paying the price. So far, they have not made an effort to address these negative comments. In fact, NBC’s chief digital officer Vivian Schiller tweeted out the message below, and then later deleted it.
Clearly, NBC isn’t concerned with the backlash since they had the most watched opening night on record for the Summer Games — up 20% from Beijing and 45% from Athens.
Though it may be too late to change the televised schedule for this year’s games, it would be in NBC’s best interests to try and fix this problem by 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
So do you think NBC has ruined the Olympic experience? Or is the Twittersphere overreacting?