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Dick Ebersol resigning from NBC Sports


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Here are some readers' comments to this story on SPORTS ILLUSTRATED:

Rob Witham: Personally I believe the Ebersol tenure and lasting effect on sports television is highly overrated.

A) ABC did a much better job at covering the Olympics, and Ebersol's "storytelling" was exactly what Roone Arledge did ("Up Close And Personal: The ABC Way" was the on-air mantra back in the day.....), so there's nothing revolutionary about his concepts.

B ) He let the NFL leave the network. After watching how it decimated CBS for the better part of a decade, how could he let that go? He smartly realized six years ago how NBC had to get back in the NFL rotation, and did so.

C) What else stands out about the past 20 years at NBC? CBS was better at NBA coverage (even the John Tesh theme song so revered was a blatant rip-off of CBS' 80s theme....), Wimbledon has been on NBC forever.....I will give him credit for a serious upgrade in NBC's golf coverage, which was putrid back in the 70s and 80s.

I will also thank him for respecting hockey the past half-decade, helping the NHL to its finest TV hour last month with the new contract. But, overall? I just don't see him as a giant like many do.....

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b

His distaste for John Sterling. Let me tell you as a GE Shareholder my distaste for this no talent hack executive who lost over $200 million on the Summer Olympics and had to overpay to get back into the NFL. Joe, Let me tell you I had friends of mine who worked in NBC (in the Ratings unit) who would tell you arrogant and mean he was to employees at 30 Rock. I also could have vomited when Mr.Ebersol decided to invest $50 million of the company's money (also known as the shareholders) with the known steroid peddler and sexual harasser (Sports Illustrated Story September 30,2002 issue by Mark Beech) Vince McMahon. I could go on further as a shareholder but I think I have made my point

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GozieBoy -

It will be great for NBC to get some new blood to run their sports dept. The Olympics are so very painful to watch these days (other than the opening & closing, which is essentially produced by the organizers); it's become way too pre-packaged and scripted, a real parody of itself. Tennis with the insufferable Mac (Mr. Me) is also painful to watch and has only gone way downhill, both in terms of quality and viewing interest. Golf is done much MUCH better by CBS, and while Johnny is good, he has no supporting cast whatsoever; they can only seem to say "That's right, Johnny!".

Change is good, and I hope that Ebersol enjoys reading his books.

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Just a sampling of how others feel about Ebersol's arrogant ride at NBC....Oh, and apparently, the resignation was OVER $$ rather than how much NBComcast will bid in Lausanne.

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Just a sampling of how others feel about Ebersol's arrogant ride at NBC....Oh, and apparently, the resignation was OVER $$ rather than how much NBComcast will bid in Lausanne.

You actually believe this was over money? baron, how cute and naive of you! It wasn't just the Olympic bid, apparently there are other matters that Ebersol wasn't happy with, including the recent NHL negotiations. If this was about money, he would have stayed through his existing contract (which Comcast left him there for as opposed to all the other execs they fired), done 1 last Olympics, and then retired. That he left so abruptly means he's clearly really pissed at Comcast and wanted to make a statement.

Oh yea, and reader comments.. because I put a lot of stock into what comments like that say (of course, I'm the guy posted on an Internet forum like this.. granted, I haven't done it 27,000 times). ABC's Olympics coverage had its detractors too and while yes, NBC pretty much continued ABC's legacy of covering the Olympics, that's not a knock against Ebersol that he continued a winning formula.

Ebersol is the last of the Roone Arledge-type sports TV executives. Maybe he's not cut out to run the show in a digital cable world, but again, that's not a stain on his legacy. He and Comcast clearly have different visions, so he decided he didn't want any part of it. From what I've heard about Ebersol (and full disclosure here, I once interned at NBC in their Olympics unit), he was an arrogant egotistical a-hole who a lot of people wanted nothing to do with. But he was a good executive and I'll put more stock into what I hear from the folks at the IOC rather than an upset stock-holder posting a comment on the SI story.

Can you tell race 2 from race 6 if you took out the narration & other identifying graphics?? :blink:

Pretty sure I can tell the difference between the butterfly and the freestyle. If you're watching a football game, can you tell the difference between Texas Tech and Texas A&M without narration and other identifying graphics?? :P:D

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You actually believe this was over money?

Did I say I believed it? Did you notice the "...apparently...," I merely paraphrased what that reporter said. And frankly, not that I really care that he and Susan St. James will end up on the unemployment line or not.

Pretty sure I can tell the difference between the butterfly and the freestyle. If you're watching a football game, can you tell the difference between Texas Tech and Texas A&M without narration and other identifying graphics?? [/unquote]

No, I can't because I don't watch Amer. football. :P

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To me, the most significant information to come out of all this is the fact that Comcast was immediately on the phone to the IOC and the USOC reaffirming their intentions. At the moment, the Olympics are NBC's claim to fame. Take them away and the network doesn't have much going for it (apart from The Voice -- but I almost never watch those talent shows). Comcast must realize this. NBC has been America's Olympic Network for decades. Unless they've got a rock solid plan for a new direction, I can't imagine they'd be willing to let go of that appellation too easily.

I also have to say I've enjoyed NBC's coverage for the most part. The tape delay is frustrating, sometimes the commentators can get off track, and many of the graphics are not to my taste, but for the most part the Games come alive.

Unlike some, I do like the sports.I guess my biggest complaint is that I would like to see more competition. I know this is available in the cable packages, but I'd still like to see more in the basic programming.

I guess I'm just a creature of habit. I'd sort of miss Bob Costas, Mary Carillo, Andrea Joyce, Dan Hicks, Tom Hammond, Al Trautwig, Elfie Schlegel. Yeah, they all have their annoying quirks. I had to ask myself "would you REALLY miss them?" But I think I would. I've gotten used to them. They're part of an institution.

Remember, the grass is always greener. There's no guarantee a new network would offer any improvement. Things could actually get worse. I watched some of the BBC's coverage of Athens 2004 and found it a little dry. I like Sue Barker a lot, but as a whole the broadcast seemed to lack color and dimension in comparison to NBC.

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Wall Street Journal did a brief interview with Dick Ebersol recently...

Ebersol’s Parting Thoughts

I do happen to like his quotes at the end of it..

“You have these guys say, ‘We’re going to get the Olympics, we’re going to put them on live and you’re going to see this at 6 o’clock in the morning.’ “The rights for London are $1.2 billion. And I’m sure the rights for Sochi [in 2014] and Rio [in 2016] will both be around a billion or more dollars. You want to throw them on early in the morning live? Be my guest, and see what you get.

“People don’t follow those sports, they don’t know the people. Our promotion for months beforehand tells you the story. We give you all that. “You want to do Olympics just like you do a pro football game or a basketball game? Be my guest. Watch it all fade away.”

Certainly there are people out there that think Ebersol is a dinosaur and that his ways of thinking are way past their usefulness. Personally, I happen to think maybe he's right on this one. I'd hate to be the network exec on the hook for all that money whatever network is about to spend after NBC made a disaster out of Vancouver (and probably isn't going to fare much better for London) if they can't generate as much revenue as NBC can.

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Wall Street Journal did a brief interview with Dick Ebersol recently...

Ebersol’s Parting Thoughts

I do happen to like his quotes at the end of it..

“You have these guys say, ‘We’re going to get the Olympics, we’re going to put them on live and you’re going to see this at 6 o’clock in the morning.’ “The rights for London are $1.2 billion. And I’m sure the rights for Sochi [in 2014] and Rio [in 2016] will both be around a billion or more dollars. You want to throw them on early in the morning live? Be my guest, and see what you get.

“People don’t follow those sports, they don’t know the people. Our promotion for months beforehand tells you the story. We give you all that. “You want to do Olympics just like you do a pro football game or a basketball game? Be my guest. Watch it all fade away.”

Certainly there are people out there that think Ebersol is a dinosaur and that his ways of thinking are way past their usefulness. Personally, I happen to think maybe he's right on this one. I'd hate to be the network exec on the hook for all that money whatever network is about to spend after NBC made a disaster out of Vancouver (and probably isn't going to fare much better for London) if they can't generate as much revenue as NBC can.

This is why I think it should be done twice: once when it is actually happening live, and then again during a prime time tape delayed broadcast as is normal, with live coverage during prime time as well, if possible. Satisfies EVERYONE.

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This is why I think it should be done twice: once when it is actually happening live, and then again during a prime time tape delayed broadcast as is normal, with live coverage during prime time as well, if possible. Satisfies EVERYONE.

To that I'll point to this article...

http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/sports_globetrotting/2011/05/nbc-still-going-after-olympic-tv-rights-despite-ebersols-sudden-departure.html

ESPN executives have indicated if they got the U.S. rights they would show everything live, no matter what time of day or night. That is in direct contrast to Ebersol's philosophy of delaying broadcast of some events to put them in a prime time package for what he calls, ``perhaps the only family viewing experience left in television.''

``No matter how much anyone was going to moan about that, I was never going to move it,'' Ebersol said. ``The advertisers don't pay $750,000 for 30 seconds for (part) of the audience. They want it all at one time, not live at 4 a.m.

That's why they don't do it twice, because the advertisers don't pay for it to be twice. There's little value in taking your most important block of television each day (primetime) and making it a re-run.

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Wall Street Journal did a brief interview with Dick Ebersol recently...

Ebersol’s Parting Thoughts

I do happen to like his quotes at the end of it..

“You have these guys say, ‘We’re going to get the Olympics, we’re going to put them on live and you’re going to see this at 6 o’clock in the morning.’ “The rights for London are $1.2 billion. And I’m sure the rights for Sochi [in 2014] and Rio [in 2016] will both be around a billion or more dollars. You want to throw them on early in the morning live? Be my guest, and see what you get.

“People don’t follow those sports, they don’t know the people. Our promotion for months beforehand tells you the story. We give you all that. “You want to do Olympics just like you do a pro football game or a basketball game? Be my guest. Watch it all fade away.”

Certainly there are people out there that think Ebersol is a dinosaur and that his ways of thinking are way past their usefulness. Personally, I happen to think maybe he's right on this one. I'd hate to be the network exec on the hook for all that money whatever network is about to spend after NBC made a disaster out of Vancouver (and probably isn't going to fare much better for London) if they can't generate as much revenue as NBC can.

He's the one that decided or was cajoled into believing they're worth a billion or more. We'll see what the market will pay. We've seen that spending a billion or more, doesn't lead to profits, it leads to losses with eight zero's in the figure. Everything he's done has proven to be a failure by business standards, why would anyone think he's credible? He lost 200 million dollars at a games on the North American continent.

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He's the one that decided or was cajoled into believing they're worth a billion or more. We'll see what the market will pay. We've seen that spending a billion or more, doesn't lead to profits, it leads to losses with eight zero's in the figure. Everything he's done has proven to be a failure by business standards, why would anyone think he's credible? He lost 200 million dollars at a games on the North American continent.

Everything? So making $100 million on Beijing was a failure? Or the $60 million on Torino? Or the $70 million on Athens? No one is arguing that Ebersol hasn't made some major financial blunders in his career, Vancouver being 1 of them, but he's made a lot more money for NBC on the Olympics than he's lost them, so saying "everything he's done has been a failure" is absolutely not correct.

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The sad reality is that if they show everything live, I'm going to miss a lot of it. People have real lives. They can't get up at 4 a.m. to watch gymnastics finals. They can't take off of work at 11 a.m. to watch the 100m hurdles. I see Ebersol's reasoning for the tape delay. I think viewership would plummet.

I also see One Time's point of view. One of my questions is whether there would be enough time to run it twice. There are so many events. It's tough to squeeze everything in.

I wonder about doing a live broadcast on cable. The die-hards are the only ones who are going to watch live any way. Then the network broadcast could be tape delay and shown in prime time.

As for the advertisers, I'm sure they could see the rationale behind airing it twice. They could choose where they want to put their money.

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As for the advertisers, I'm sure they could see the rationale behind airing it twice. They could choose where they want to put their money.

Why would you buy a 2 a.m. slot? Do you see Home Depot, United Airlines, even H-P advtg on there? No; that's for insomniacs who don't have much money to buy stuff anyway. Much as I love to watch volleyball, if the US team isn't in the finals, I'm not staying up for a Cuba v. Russia match-up. I can always watch that later. And the US team is NOT going to be in every finals. So that's really a foolish arrangement. It will be even bigger egg on Fox's face if they did it that way.

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Why would you buy a 2 a.m. slot? Do you see Home Depot, United Airlines, even H-P advtg on there? No; that's for insomniacs who don't have much money to buy stuff anyway. Much as I love to watch volleyball, if the US team isn't in the finals, I'm not staying up for a Cuba v. Russia match-up. I can always watch that later. And the US team is NOT going to be in every finals. So that's really a foolish arrangement. It will be even bigger egg on Fox's face if they did it that way.

Not even so much that and the amount of ads a company is showing. Take Coca-Cola for example. They've already bought who knows how many minutes of commercial time so how much more would they want? And that's all aside from the fact that for the networks to show something twice, they either have to add more programming hours or cut back on other coverage.

I wonder about doing a live broadcast on cable. The die-hards are the only ones who are going to watch live any way. Then the network broadcast could be tape delay and shown in prime time.

As for the advertisers, I'm sure they could see the rationale behind airing it twice. They could choose where they want to put their money.

The thing to be careful about there.. let's say Fox comes in, promises to show live coverage and also have a primetime show. In this day and age when so many people have DVRs, how many are going to wait for the primetime show instead of recording the live coverage and watching that instead. They need to be careful about the primetime show essentially being a re-run. The way to do that is to make primetime completely different from the rest of the day's coverage. Have interviews, athlete profiles, medal ceremonies, features, previews of the next day's events, etc. It needs to be a different product or else there's really no point. Now whether that can generate money or not is a separate issue altogether.

The middle ground here that I seriously hope NBC looks into is expanding their online coverage. Vancouver was a step backwards from Beijing. Let's hope they start moving forward again and not having Ebersol there might actually help that cause.

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Everything? So making $100 million on Beijing was a failure? Or the $60 million on Torino? Or the $70 million on Athens? No one is arguing that Ebersol hasn't made some major financial blunders in his career, Vancouver being 1 of them, but he's made a lot more money for NBC on the Olympics than he's lost them, so saying "everything he's done has been a failure" is absolutely not correct.

You're right I'm a little premature I can't say everything. We'll just have to wait until August 2012, and see if the combined losses on balance equal out to a surplus or a deficit for NBC. I still stand by my statement that only Ebersol and maybe Carrion, and a few IOC members think the rights are worth a billion plus.

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Making the content different in the live and prime time broadcasts doesn't help. Everybody wants to see the marquee events. If you show them life and not again in prime time you're going to lose a bunch of viewers. If you show them in prime time and not live (a la Ebersole) everybody bitches and moans about living in the information age, etc. If you show them twice then you run the risk of people with DVRs not tuning in to the prime time broadcast. There are problems with every approach.

Personally, I'll be pissed if the networks only air events I want to watch in the wee hours of the morning or in the middle of my work day. That will kill the Olympics for American audiences.

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Making the content different in the live and prime time broadcasts doesn't help. Everybody wants to see the marquee events. If you show them life and not again in prime time you're going to lose a bunch of viewers. If you show them in prime time and not live (a la Ebersole) everybody bitches and moans about living in the information age, etc. If you show them twice then you run the risk of people with DVRs not tuning in to the prime time broadcast. There are problems with every approach.

Personally, I'll be pissed if the networks only air events I want to watch in the wee hours of the morning or in the middle of my work day. That will kill the Olympics for American audiences.

/\ /\ But you forget that it's a certain kind of audience that the network AND the primo advertisers (who pay MEGA-bucks) want to reach at a certain time with the "marquee" events. You want to reach the college & above-educated households that buy the Lexii and the Prii and Jaguars, who take a few trips a year to Rio or Aspen or Rome on either Business or First Class; whose kids play soccer and are being groomed for the top colleges; in other words, households with incomes of $75K and above. And they usually work during the regular week and day, like you. This is the segment you reserve prime events for at premium prices...NOT the insomniacs who live on Chapter 8 and foodstamps who stay up to watch the Shopping Channel or old Ingrid Bergman movies...and eventually doze off to sleep anyway therefore ENTIRELY missing both content AND the commercials.

And of course, it would be the events with American athletes or teams. If you wanted to watch the female field hockey finals between, say, Zimbabwe and Bhutan, then you're out of luck...or just set your VCR for the 2:00 am slot.

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/\ /\ But you forget that it's a certain kind of audience that the network AND the primo advertisers (who pay MEGA-bucks) want to reach at a certain time with the "marquee" events. You want to reach the college & above-educated households that buy the Lexii and the Prii and Jaguars, who take a few trips a year to Rio or Aspen or Rome on either Business or First Class; whose kids play soccer and are being groomed to to to the top colleges; in other words, households with incomes of $75K and above. And they usually work during the regular week and day, like you. This is the segment you reserve prime events for at premium prices...NOT the insomniacs who live on Chapter 8 and foodstamps who stay up to watch the Shopping Channel or old Ingrid Bergman movies...and eventually doze off to sleep anyway therefore ENTIRELY missing both content AND the commercials.

And of course, it would be the events with American athletes or teams. If you wanted to watch the female field hockey finals between, say, Zimbabwe and Bhutan, then you're out of luck...or just set your VCR for the 2:00 am slot.

Do those mythical people have enough time to even watch live television? Are they watching ads or using the DVR remote? My dad fits into that category, he owns his own business and while he will watch the Bengals and the Blue Jackets he's usually reading in the evenings rather than watching TV. I thought the lucrative market for TV advertising was the younger 18-35?

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/\ /\ But you forget that it's a certain kind of audience that the network AND the primo advertisers (who pay MEGA-bucks) want to reach at a certain time with the "marquee" events. You want to reach the college & above-educated households that buy the Lexii and the Prii and Jaguars, who take a few trips a year to Rio or Aspen or Rome on either Business or First Class; whose kids play soccer and are being groomed to to to the top colleges; in other words, households with incomes of $75K and above. And they usually work during the regular week and day, like you. This is the segment you reserve prime events for at premium prices...NOT the insomniacs who live on Chapter 8 and foodstamps who stay up to watch the Shopping Channel or old Ingrid Bergman movies...and eventually doze off to sleep anyway therefore ENTIRELY missing both content AND the commercials.

And of course, it would be the events with American athletes or teams. If you wanted to watch the female field hockey finals between, say, Zimbabwe and Bhutan, then you're out of luck...or just set your VCR for the 2:00 am slot.

Well, that's not wht Fox is proposing when they say they're going to televise everything live.

Your idea sounds fine to me, but it's not going to satisfy all those who complain that they can get the results online hours before the broadcast. People aren't complaining about female field hockey finals -- they're complaining about Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, women's gymnastics....

What you're proposing isn't really all that different from what Ebersole was already doing. NBC did show things like field hockey and modern pentathalon in the wee hours of the morning -- not all of that was live, but -- again -- I don't think those are the events people were complaining about having delayed.

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Making the content different in the live and prime time broadcasts doesn't help. Everybody wants to see the marquee events. If you show them life and not again in prime time you're going to lose a bunch of viewers. If you show them in prime time and not live (a la Ebersole) everybody bitches and moans about living in the information age, etc. If you show them twice then you run the risk of people with DVRs not tuning in to the prime time broadcast. There are problems with every approach.

Personally, I'll be pissed if the networks only air events I want to watch in the wee hours of the morning or in the middle of my work day. That will kill the Olympics for American audiences.

Well then root as hard as you can against ESPN because I think that's exactly what's going to happen if they get Sochi. ESPN will show everything live and at best, ABC will air a glorified highlights show. There's no reason for them to air the same content that was shown on ESPN as much as 18 hours or so earlier. In television, that's what's known as a re-run. You want to see the marquee events? Go get a DVR like everyone else because why wait for a primetime broadcast when everything has already aired. You're right there's no good way to do this for a European Olympics but with ESPN and Fox pledging to show everything live, who knows how they'd use primetime. I keep saying that the middle ground solution is to make the live content available online, and air the TV coverage as it has been. That way you at least get a chance to satisfy the "we want live coverage" crowd without hurting the TV coverage.

Do those mythical people have enough time to even watch live television? Are they watching ads or using the DVR remote? My dad fits into that category, he owns his own business and while he will watch the Bengals and the Blue Jackets he's usually reading in the evenings rather than watching TV. I thought the lucrative market for TV advertising was the younger 18-35?

That's why the key demographic is 18-49 which I'm guessing your dad probably falls out of. Advertisers aren't going to pay big money because the audience they want to reach (as baron pointed out, people with disposable income who probably aren't awake through odd hours of the night) is going to DVR the coverage and zip through the commercials. At least with the primetime delay, it could be considered "event viewing" because it's still technically first-run programming, less you got desperate enough to go to Youtube or find some other Internet stream.

What you're proposing isn't really all that different from what Ebersole was already doing. NBC did show things like field hockey and modern pentathalon in the wee hours of the morning -- not all of that was live, but -- again -- I don't think those are the events people were complaining about having delayed.

Most of NBC's cable coverage is live, including all the events that were made available online. Really the majority of what gets delayed is the big ticket events like track & field and swimming and gymnastics, the events that fill up NBC's portion of the schedule. When the Olympics are outside North America, you're going to have events going on at odd hours, nothing you can do about that. But NBC has generally made a point, certainly since Athens in 2004, to make certain sports like basketball and soccer available live since those only get shown on cable (save for some of the basketball games NBC shows live on the weekends).

Again, that's why as much as so many people like to rip Ebersol (there's no E at the end of his name, BTW) and what they say is his misguided view of the Olympics, there's a method to his madness. And I'm so far from convinced that the alternative (i.e. what ESPN and Fox are proposing to do) will accomplish anything other than giving people a fresh new slate of things to complain about.

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There's no reason for them to air the same content that was shown on ESPN as much as 18 hours or so earlier.

Yes there is, for the people who were sleeping at that time.

In television, that's what's known as a re-run. You want to see the marquee events? Go get a DVR like everyone else because why wait for a primetime broadcast when everything has already aired.

When are these DVR recording people going to watch it? They are sleeping during the live broadcast, and at work during the day. As far as zipping through commercials, if they have a DVR they could do that anyway during the prime-time broadcast. My brother does it all the time. Let's the show run for a half hour or hour before starting watching it via DVR playback, then skips adverts.

But not everyone has a DVR, I don't. I don't even subscribe to cable. When the games are on, I'll subscribe to cable and then drop it when they are done.

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Again, that's why as much as so many people like to rip Ebersol (there's no E at the end of his name, BTW) and what they say is his misguided view of the Olympics, there's a method to his madness. And I'm so far from convinced that the alternative (i.e. what ESPN and Fox are proposing to do) will accomplish anything other than giving people a fresh new slate of things to complain about.

I completely agree. Most Americans do not care enough about the Olympics to get up at 3am to watch athletes they've never heard of in a sport they're not familiar with. Even if Michael Phelps were competing at that time, ESPN would be lucky to get 1/4th of the audience that NBC got in 2004 (the last time that swimming was shown on tape-delay). The difference between ESPN and NBC is that ESPN has the advantage of massive subscriber fees, so they're not as reliant on advertising dollars as NBC. Even so, having 3 million people watching live marquee events at 3am on ESPN will have a very negative effect on the Olympics in the U.S. and on the corporate sponsorship that the USOC and the sports federations need to keep producing world-class athletes.

It's worth noting that one of the most-watched hours of the entire Vancouver Olympics was the women's downhill, which was shown about 8 hours after it took place. A taped broadcast of the race beat out American Idol for that hour. In many cases, I think withholding coverage until primetime actually builds up the ratings--when people see the results, they want to tune in for a major event. With that said, I think there are some events that NBC should considering showing live next year, like the men's 100m final, which will take place at about 5pm Eastern on Saturday. The most-watched event of the Vancouver Games was the men's hockey final, which was broadcast in the afternoon, so I think NBC would get a huge audience for a live 100m final at 5pm as well.

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Yes there is, for the people who were sleeping at that time.

Once the event is broadcast at 3am, it will be shown ad nauseum throughout the day on SportsCenter, other highlight shows, and on the internet. By the time the primetime broadcast begins, most people will have already seen the event more than once and will be unlikely to tune in again. NBC not only holds events for primetime, but they also make it very difficult for people to find international coverage of the events on the internet. I think live coverage is the way of the future even if the Olympics stay on NBC, but I also think that Ebersol is right in that the events will end up reaching far fewer people than in the past.

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When are these DVR recording people going to watch it? They are sleeping during the live broadcast, and at work during the day. As far as zipping through commercials, if they have a DVR they could do that anyway during the prime-time broadcast. My brother does it all the time. Let's the show run for a half hour or hour before starting watching it via DVR playback, then skips adverts.

But not everyone has a DVR, I don't. I don't even subscribe to cable. When the games are on, I'll subscribe to cable and then drop it when they are done.

How about at night when they get home. Why wait until an hour into the primetime broadcast when you could just as easy record whatever you want when it airs live (especially if the events and coverage you're looking for aren't what's covered in primetime) and watch that instead? Seems like a waste of programming time if the other networks have first-run programming on that night. Especially because...

Once the event is broadcast at 3am, it will be shown ad nauseum throughout the day on SportsCenter, other highlight shows, and on the internet. By the time the primetime broadcast begins, most people will have already seen the event more than once and will be unlikely to tune in again. NBC not only holds events for primetime, but they also make it very difficult for people to find international coverage of the events on the internet. I think live coverage is the way of the future even if the Olympics stay on NBC, but I also think that Ebersol is right in that the events will end up reaching far fewer people than in the past.

That's it right there. Now Fox claims they're not concerned about this, that they think it might even drive people to the primetime telecasts. Not so sure I buy that. When NBC airs an event in primetime, you may know the results, but unless you're 1 of the few people who feel the need to go seek it out online, you haven't seen it yet. If ESPN gets the Olympics, they're going to render it pretty pointless to have any sort of primetime show, and especially for Sochi, they're going to be showing basketball those nights anyway and maybe giving ABC some scraps of coverage to show. Maybe it would stop the complaining over NBC's tape delays, but if fewer people are watching, then whose interests are really being served.

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