FanDuel - WFBC

September 26, 2006

IOC Shuffles 2008 Competition Schedule to Suit NBC: The American network, which paid $2.6B for the North American broadcast rights for 2008, wants to screen the most popular events live in (US) prime time. The Herald Sun reports that swimming, diving, and gymnastics finals have been moved from the evening to the early afternoon.

There has not yet been any official announcement from the IOC.

[via Timed Finals]



posted by Amateur to other at 11:16 AM - 13 comments

My take from a few months ago.

posted by Amateur at 11:17 AM on September 26

You could kind of see this coming. I agree with your take from your blog. NBC is well within their rights to ask for stuff like this, and the huge amount of money they put on the table for this thing gives their requests a bit of extra weight. But as long as the participants know what the deal is in enough time to prepare for whatever the schedule winds up being, then I can't see this being all that big a deal. Not that this makes it right (I'm sure that Asia would love to have some events in their prime time as well, and not just the badminton and table tennis finals or other non-North-American big draws), but it's understandable.

posted by chicobangs at 11:34 AM on September 26

Clever move - realign the whole Olympic schedule to suit the perceived desires of the viewing public in a country that would have to rank fairly high up a list of Olympic spectating apathy. From a personal point of view, I couldn't care less what time things are on - part of the joy of watching an Olympic games for me comes from such things as staying up far too late, or getting up far too early, or even sneaking out of work, to try to see if some bloke can run faster than some other bloke. What might get lost is the very thing that started me on my ridiculous crusade in the first place - the accidental watching (because it happens to be on when you sit down) of a pivotal sporting moment you might not have otherwise made an effort to see. As regards the network schedule affecting the events, I can only agree that is madness. TV should be there to observe and report, not to influence outcomes.

posted by JJ at 12:02 PM on September 26

Olympics or not, the bottom line is $$$$. These dorks would sell their mother and kids if the price was right. It's that mentality that the American public has to be catered to that has a large part of the world resenting the US. When the networks pour billions of $$ into something they control it on all levels.

posted by joromu at 12:17 PM on September 26

There's lots more on this subject at Timed Finals if you look in the archives. According to one commenter this was also attempted in 1988, at least for swimming. The evening schedule was restored halfway through the Olympics because the finals were being held in front of a mostly-empty grandstand. I have not tried to confirm that story, though.

posted by Amateur at 12:27 PM on September 26

I think Nagano was the tipping point for emphasizing the viewing audience at home in lieu of the attending audience. At least, that is what the stadia architecture suggests.

posted by garfield at 12:59 PM on September 26

I think the problem is that this isn't done more often. Maybe there should be big time finals at different times, so that people from every time zone have something targeted to them. I find it impossible to believe that all Olympic athletes would not change their training regimen to prevent poor performances because of such time changes. Additionally, the IOC has to think about the price that a U.S. network will pay next time around if the ratings are terrible because everyone already knows who won before they watch it.

posted by bperk at 01:53 PM on September 26

Well, this pisses me off. I hate being catered to under the presumption that I'm stupid, lazy, apathetic and need to be coddled. I'd write more, but thinking about it is making my brain tired and I can't seem to care.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:12 PM on September 26

I for one excitedly await the slo-mo, black&white montage/backstory pieces which will pepper the prime time coverage!

posted by JohnSFO at 05:05 PM on September 26

Bugger. Olympics and World Cups are rarely held in this time zone, so when they are we finally get to watch them without the torture that goes with sleep deprivation. This decision fouls that up, as the important events will now be on when most of us are supposed to be at work. We had the TV set on at the office during the LA Olympics, but luckily the boss was a big sports fan.

posted by owlhouse at 05:33 PM on September 26

I for one excitedly await the slo-mo, black&white montage/backstory pieces which will pepper the prime time coverage! Word. Why does NBC need live action to fit into their taped, shot-through-Vasoline weepers?

posted by yerfatma at 05:55 PM on September 26

Additionally, the IOC has to think about the price that a U.S. network will pay next time around if the ratings are terrible because everyone already knows who won before they watch it. But bperk, the IOC goes to great lengths to force NBC to bid on the Games before they know who the host is so that the influence of TV money doesn't "corrupt" the selection of the host city. That's totally ass-backwards. I say let TV money corrupt the selection of the host city all you want. But don't let it drive the competition schedule. Also I could get into a long discussion about exactly why the IOC needs to worry so much about TV revenues, but I think I'll save that for a column or something.

posted by Amateur at 08:20 PM on September 26

There is absolutely no way everyone is going to be happy with the selection of the host city. If the IOC selected the host city based on what its biggest sponsors wanted, it would be in and around North America all the time. That would pretty much kill the Olympic spirit. So, the IOC is stuck doing this balancing act where they get this huge amount of money without destroying the worldwide attraction of the Olympics. Further, since the Olympics is likely to be in your timezone (whatever it is) infrequently, adjusting the finals times would let people from lots of other times get to see some exciting action live. I think athletes would adjust, fans in the host city would still come, and fans in that time zone still would get to see most of the action live anyway.

posted by bperk at 06:42 AM on September 27

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