Why NBC’s coverage of the Olympics is disappointing

Karl Reimer explains why the American Olympic needs to be televised in a better manner.



Karl Reimer, Writer


Four years ago, I was lucky enough to witness the Winter Olympics in my hometown of Vancouver, Canada. There were people everywhere lining every street, all cheering on athletes from around the world. Crowds filled up event venues, and national television viewership records were set. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This time around, I’ve felt distanced from the olympic competitions.

My complaint is two-part: First, the Olympics are not being televised enough. Second, not enough people are watching the Olympics. Of course, more people would watch the Olympics if they were produced in a better manner.

Disappointing Television Coverage

As mentioned, American Olympic coverage has been disappointing this year. When the Olympic ceremonies were happening live, I was only able to find breakfast television — the National Broadcasting Company only broadcasts the Olympics during certain evening hours. I also attempted to watch the USA-Russia hockey game on NBC’s website, and I was given a very limited 30 minutes of viewing time before a pop-up message prompted me to purchase “NBC Sport Extra.” When I have been able to view Olympic events, there has been a constant barrage of commercials surrounding the athletic performances.

In comparison, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation offers live events all day long and has triple the possible viewing hours for their main network. They offer all events online for free and do not limit the viewing time to 30 minutes. NBC offers further Olympic coverage on their subsidiary channels such as NBCSN and CNBC, but these channels require cable subscriptions.

Support the Athletes

In regards to viewer support, I’m not asking America to be imitate my experience in Canada. The experience of holding the Olympics in my hometown will never be replicated. Additionally, I understand that Americans are generally more interested in the Super Bowl or the World Series.

But I do think the Olympics deserve more respect than they currently receive. These athletes train their entire lives for these showcases of talent and pizazz. Additionally, it is actually interesting to watch Shaun White perform insane snowboard tricks. It is enjoyable to see the USA hockey team defeat Russia in a nail-biting shootout. And yet despite the immense number of medals won by the US, I have seen fellow Biolans watch just as much basketball as Olympic coverage during the past two weeks.

NBC should allow America to watch the Olympics without requiring the purchase of a cable subscription. And if America is proud of the athletes they send to the Olympics, they should support them by watching these amazing games.


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