Usain Bolt is once again the fastest man in the world. I knew this at 5PM in New York yesterday because I checked my Twitter feed.
Meanwhile, in NBC land, Usain was just waking up and having breakfast, getting ready to run the 100 meter finals later on that day, because in NBC land, things don’t happen until they let them happen.
NBC, the network with a stranglehold on American Olympic coverage since Al Gore invented the internet. The network that says, “Nobody cares about results until we give them results”, and promptly shows a Today show promo that Missy Franklin had won a Gold medal in swimming, but hey! They hadn’t shown her swim yet.
Is there any other sporting event that comes to you in tape delay?
I understand the dilemma, we’re in different time zones. You see London, is like, uh, ahead of New York by 5 hours and New York, and the East coast, center of the Broadcast Television Universe is uh, ahead of the West coast by 3 hours because people on the West coast are like real slow you know?
So the programmers always worry about putting on sporting events when the West Coast people are out of work and the East Coast people are still awake. This reminds me of one of the reasons why I hate Fox baseball/football broadcaster Joe Buck. You see, for most of the last decade, Fox has been the network of the baseball pennant races. In baseball, the teams are playing best of seven series, and often the games are scheduled on consecutive days.
Now this is my first year living on the East Coast. When I was watching these games on the West Coast they were starting at 6pm, which means that in New York it was what time?
If you said 9pm, you are correct. Add three hours from West to East. If you can’t understand that, please eliminate yourself from the gene pool. NOW!
Back to my ol’ buddy Joe Buck. The game was running long, and trust me it doesn’t matter what game because this happened multiple times. But the game was running over three hours, which is kind of a long game, but baseball is pathetically slow sometimes, do you know how much time they spend between pitches? ANYWAY, at three hours and one minute of game time it’s 9:01pm on the West Coast and OH MY! 12:01am on the East Coast. And at that point Joe Buck would get all cutesy and say something like, “It’s now Tuesday morning, we’ll be playing here in Boston later today for game 6.”
That was the point where I wanted to reach through the television and strangle that little weasel for saying such stupid crap. Don’t tell me that when the clock strikes midnight its tomorrow. Are you still awake? Then it’s the same day you woke up on. Does a bartender go home at midnight saying he’s not scheduled to work tomorrow? As far as I’m concerned, when it’s New Year’s Eve you can get all crazy when the clock hits 12, kiss your significant other, take another shot. But when you wake up with that awful hangover, that’s your real welcome to the New Year bub.
The world doesn’t shut down, things are always happening, U.S. stock brokers wake up and check what happened overnight in the foreign markets to see what’s coming their way, and sports fans watch their game when it’s on. In 2002, thousands of Koreans gathered in downtown Los Angeles for a 2am local start time to watch South Korea during the World Cup.
So why does NBC feel the need to hold this over our heads like we will consciously live in a bubble and hope no one spoils Olympic results for us? They’ve heard of Twitter and Facebook right? People love to gossip and be the first to tell others of news. Think of all the dead celebrities you found out about on Facebook. It’s nearly impossible to not find out.
So here it was a Sunday at 5PM when Usain Bolt became the fasterist man in the world with his second 100 meter Olympic Gold. It was 2PM on the West coast. Perfect times to watch the event LIVE. We’re talking about Sunday afternoon. The Kentucky Derby, Golf, and Football are shown on Sunday or Saturday afternoons, but it was 11:10PM in New York on a Sunday night, and most of my customers had gone home when I finally got to see the race on the bar TV.
Yes NBC, you won that battle, I still watched.
And how many kids were asleep, and how many people didn’t care because the coverage of other events went on and on and on, and they went to bed or maybe DVR’d the event to watch it even later?
The 100 meters is a marquee event. There is nothing that compares to the crowd’s focused energy. Even the most scattered ADD mind can watch 10 seconds of running. It’s exciting to watch and did I mention it doesn’t even take 10 seconds? Sell one big commercial before and one big commercial after.
When it finally came down to it, this was the collection of the fastest runners in history. Bolt set an Olympic record with 9.63. Fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake ran 9.75, American Justin Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic Gold medalist won Bronze with 9.79, and Tyson Gay just missed out at 9.8, even though it was the fifth fastest Olympic time EVER. It was the greatest 100 of all time.
I only hope that the next Olympics can be covered by ABC and ESPN or NBC will finally pull it’s head out of it’s ass.