John Skipper of ESPN is both a neighbor of mine as well (he was also my son’s 4th grade basketball coach over a decade ago) as the Executive VP for content. In an article in yesterday’s NY Times http://nyti.ms/ciWFqt he discussed the idea that should ESPN be awarded the 2014 winter and 2016 summer games (which they plan to bid on) they would discontinue the tape-delay template.
I agree completely with him. Let this be the last Olympics where I have to be cajoled into hanging in there under the banner of ’17 minutes until Lindsey Vonn’. Or ‘Apolo Ohno in 22 minutes’. This while they show a taped cross country ski race for which we already know the result.
NBC has offered live coverage on MSNBC (hockey in particular) and CNBC to name two alternate stations. In fact I watched the women’s gold medal game last night live. But NBC rarely if ever suggests that you go to MSNBC or CNBC to watch an event live. As if they are somehow going to scoop their own coverage. Yes I realize that non-cable subscribers may not have that access but – too bad for them if that’s the case.
And as I was watching the hockey game last night with my wife and 16 year old daughter (the Canadian goaltender nearly stood on her head in pitching a shutout vs. a very determined and capable American squad), I marveled – (well maybe I was just impressed) at the continuous action and NO commercial breaks during the period. The game was fast paced and took less than 2 hours to complete. It was an enjoyable experience and although disappointed the Americans did not win I was happy for the Canadians who have a world of pressure to deliver gold in what should be but is not their national sport (lacrosse!).
If you watch soccer on TV (and the 2010 World cup in South Africa is coming up fast in June) you notice that there are not commercial breaks either. The action is continuous but what they do is place rotating ads on the screen in the corner. Why doesn’t MSNBC do the same thing during the Olympic hockey coverage? Viewers are fairly accustomed to this now and we do understand that broadcast rights are expensive. I sincerely doubt most people would begrudge rotating on screen ads if done unobtrusively, particularly if we exchange that model for one that has us going to commercial breaks at seemingly every stoppage of play as it is in the NHL TV coverage.
How could MSNBC miss this opportunity?