Why Someone Ought To Outbid NBC For The Olympics

I have griped about the Peacock’s amazingly stupid mentality towards tape delaying events during the Beijing Olympics, and this is above and beyond the usual tape-delay frustrations because NBC is not alerting the telecasts in any way to make it clear to viewers West of the Mississippi that none of the content is live. In the wake of Usain Bolt’s record-breaking 200-meter win that none of us will see on television until later tonight (both Awful Announcing and With Leather are hosting video until the copyright police go after it), I am absolutely excited at the thought of ESPN formally bidding with the IOC for the rights, starting with the 2016 Winter Olympics.

In a sports and media world driven by the Internet and up to the minute results, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to have so few of the events by live in one half of the country and not live everywhere else — and, as NBC Universal is wont to do, get bent out of shape when the video leaks.

This leaves affiliate sports directors in the quandary of not publicizing the results of matches due to be aired on their stations AFTER local news goes off the air for the night — for example, if you are covering Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers in men’s volleyball because they happen to be from your market, and you know they’ve advanced to the gold medal match, but the match has not aired — you have no highlights and are even conflicted about reporting whether they’ve won in order not to spoil it for viewers who might be sticking around at 1 A.M.

The problem is that ESPN shouldn’t have a lock on all the important sporting events, but considering that they would actually rotate their cable networks’ schedule to do a lot more live coverage of events across the U.S., the trade-off is worth considering.  It goes without saying that ESPN would produce certain stuff that ABC could air live and probably delay to the Mountain and Pacific time zones, but so much more of the content would be live on the other channels.

Then again, also in NBC’s favor is that their presentation for sporting events (graphics, etc.) is just head and shoulders above other networks. ESPN’s work for ABC always seems kind of cut rate compared to how CBS handles college football and basketball and NBC handles football and the Olympics, and I keep thinking that the Four-Letter would underwhelm in this department.

Would you trade a near-monopoly on live sports to be able to see some actual Olympic content live?

Photo: Reuteurs/Kai Pfaffenbach

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Wanted: British Giants For Minor Sports At 2012 Olympics

In Olympic competition, the host country gets to enter someone or a team in every event, I believe, and this is a direct outgrowth of this — the AP notes that the Brits are looking for tall people to compete in London’s 2012 games, and have roped about 50 people in open tryouts from their “Sporting Giants” program.

This is solely for sports like volleyball, rowing, fairly minor stuff (it wouldn’t quite fly for basketball, according to the GB hoops coach — besides, he’s got Luol Deng and Ben Gordon to tap, so it’s not impossible), but the concept of finding ordinary folks to fill out squads in non-marquee sports is amusing.

Stuart Campbell gave up his job as a personal trainer to join the British Handball Academy in Denmark.

“I had never even seen a handball court before Sporting Giants,” the 25-year-old Campbell said. “But we’re not just here to make up the numbers — we’re here to win medals.”

Frances Nicholls, who had been working as a teacher in York, has now relocated to Henley, home of Britain’s most famous rowing regatta, after being fast-tracked onto Britain’s national rowing program.

“It’s been an absolute whirlwind,” the 23-year-old Nicholls said.

Rowers, handballers, volleyball players — yet no one for the basketball program simply to take up some room on the court and collect fouls from LeBron or someone else going to the hoop? C’mon, Brits, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity here; no one wants your lasting impact on the world of basketball to be this guy’s WWL-orchestrated media kerfuffle:

Cheap Shots #106.

Update #1: 9:30 AM

Damn It, I Hate It When Whitlock’s Right: Broken clock rule on Roger Clemens. [Fox Sports]

Congresscritters Kiss Clemens’ Ass: No jury would actually, say, meet with the defendant before a trial — but essentially, that is what the House Government Reform Committee has done, according to Murray Chass. GC got similar remarks off the tube coming from the mouth of Bryant Gumbel. [NYT, Can’t Stop The Bleeding]

The Big Man Code, Ordinance 225.7: The fascinating war of words between Bill Walton and Shaquille O’Neal. [Awful Announcing]

Behind The Swoosh: CNBC’s Darren Rovell did a documentary-style program on Nike, and it’s airing tonight. Supposedly it contains some stuff about its seedier side — particularly in Vietnam. I’ll probably have to catch it on repeats, but it sounds good. [Sports Biz With Darren Rovell]

2008 Swimsuit Issue: Yawn. Read once, ogle twice, ignore for rest of the year. [Sports Illustrated]

Speaking of Nike-Related Stuff: The Legend of Cecilio Guante pays tribute to another product that Michael Jordan helped make big — the Jordan Jammer.

Bigger Choke Job: Bugs and Cranks looks at the 2007 Patriots vs. the 2001 Yankees.

The Latest Berman Video: This only gets more and more amusing.

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