Thursday, July 31, 2008

You Can’t Miss the 2008 Olympics

Just a few days ago, I wrote about the changing face of the Democratic and Republican Conventions over the years, here. Another big television event is also just about a week away from descending upon us – the 2008 Summer Olympics, opening on 8/8/08. Like the conventions, the 2008 Olympic television coverage certainly won’t be the Olympic TV coverage I grew up with, which for a long time was only available on one channel (ABC). With media giant NBC Universal handing the television coverage, the Olympics will be on one channel or another in the NBC Universal group, providing coverage virtually 24/7, for the duration of the games.

But, why is it that I still don’t feel as excited as I used to about the Olympics? Maybe my overall interest in sports has waned over the years. But, I think a big part of it is that despite wall-to-wall coverage on various channels, there are still plenty of other things to watch on television. That’s even considering that we’re deep into the summer rerun doldrums.

I shouldn’t assume, though, that once things get going that I wouldn’t find some sports that will bring on the excitement. After all, I never expected to be riveted by the sport of Curling in the last Winter Olympics. Curling! The very complete coverage being provided by the NBC Universal powerhouse will be hard to resist, especially if it’s offered on channels that are available in HD. I have to admit that I do find sports a little more interesting and fun to watch in HD. It’s almost like being there.

NBC also seems very aware of any concerns that viewers may have with the time difference between Beijing and the US, and they have the following message on their web site:

NBC's 'Complete Olympics' to show more than 2,000 hours of live events
Posted Wednesday, July 9, 2008

NBC Universal, broadcasting its record 11th Olympics and surpassing ABC for the most Olympics broadcast by any network, will present an unprecedented 3,600 hours of Beijing Olympic Games coverage, the most ambitious single media project in history. NBCU's unprecedented Olympics coverage features the most live coverage in the United States (75 percent in all), across the most platforms, of any Summer Olympics in history when the Games of the XXIX Olympiad commence on Aug. 8. The announcement was made today by Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics and Executive Producer of NBCU's Olympic coverage.

The 3,600 total hours of coverage on seven NBC Universal networks: NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, Oxygen, Telemundo and Universal HD, as well as, is 1,000 hours more than the combined coverage for every televised Summer Olympics in U.S. history (Rome 1960 - Athens 2004, 2,562 hours). will feature approximately 2,200 total hours of live streaming Olympic broadband video coverage, the first live online Olympic coverage in the United States.

"For the first time, the average American will be able to create their own unique Olympic experience whether at home, at the office or on-the-go," said Ebersol.

"With 25 sports streamed live at and significant live coverage on our cable platforms and NBC, highlighted by all swimming finals, the biggest nights of gymnastics and beach volleyball live in primetime, the viewer has plenty of options for live coverage.

"In the 41 years since my first Olympics, it's staggering to me to be involved in a Games where we are producing 2,900 hours of live coverage - especially from an Olympics half-a-world away. It's more live coverage from a single Olympics than the total of all previous Summer Olympics combined. The enormity of what we're doing just blows me away."
(The complete article is at the link above.)

So here’s hoping that the 2008 Olympics bring back the spark in the event. It sounds like NBC is pulling out all the stops to make this a convenient and pleasurable event for all viewers across the country. Who knows, maybe I’ll even watch some archery?

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