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Why NBC is reluctant to show much of Paraolympics.


msp2032

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I always thought that the Americans love stories of heroism and overcoming obstacles -- so NBC or any other channel broadcasting the Paralympics would be able to tell such stories to an even bigger degree than at the Olympics. And bearing in mind that the USA won the fourth-biggest number of medals at these Paralympics, it's even more incomprehensible that they are treated that unlovingly by NBC.

I hope that American viewers will get much more extensive Paralympic broadcasts in 2016. Rio is located in a very good time zone for the American TV market, so they really have no excuses there to avoid live broadcasts.

At the same time, I hope that we'll get more coverage also on German television. When I read that Australia's ABC broadcasted 100 hours from London (despite the huge time shift) while we in Germany only got 37, I'm really puzzled. It was good that German TV had several hours of uninterrupted broadcasting from the Paralympics each day, but it could be much more.

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People can choose whether they watch or not. But it is nothing less than an International Disgrace that the world if they choose to are denied the opportunity to see these courageous people excel, and inspire others in a similar position. Broadcasters should be signed ONLY if they guarantee to show an agreed amount of live and recorded action. And those that don't should be stripped of the right to broadcast BOTH the Olympics and Paralympics if they fall below such a standard.

International broadcasters will always pay millions to broadcast both events - if NBC didn't, you can bet Fox, CBS and ABC would, so the rights should not be sold in advance but done on a games by games basis and if they fail to meet their obligations they should be banned from broadcasting the next games.

They'll pay millions for the big show, but the Paralympics are not the Olympics. I'm surprised that NBC (and by NBC I really mean NBCSN or Universal Sports) is showing as little as they are (and then were crass enough to call it an improvement over Beijing.. wait, that's not really surprising). I'm not surprised this isn't hitting the main network, but at least you'd think they'd show a little more than a handful of highlights packages. I won't fault them for not offering full and extensive live coverage, but there should be a lot more than there is.

That all said, here's the thing to keep in mind.. it costs money to cover an event like the Olympics or the Paralympics. I don't make the assumption that these networks are tripping over each other to show them. And remember it's the USOC that does the rights deal, not the IOC. They (either the IOC or the USOC) can choose a different partner based on the number of hours they plan on showing, but you can't force them to show the Paralympics if they don't want to. Do you really think an organization like the IOC is going to hand that $4.4 billion check back to NBC over the Paralympics? Doesn't work that way. They can group the Paralympic rights in with the Olympics if they want, but they lose some leverage if they're forcing the hand of the networks like that and might not get as much money.

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I hope that American viewers will get much more extensive Paralympic broadcasts in 2016. Rio is located in a very good time zone for the American TV market, so they really have no excuses there to avoid live broadcasts.

That could actually work against it as for an event like the Paralympics (as it seems to be viewed by US broadcasters) I'm not sure NBC at least would want to risk it in primetime, even on a spin-off channel, when they're not even risking live coverage at the moment. I think NBC should have used the London games just to trial broadcasting the evening sessions live in the afternoon - if they'd broadcast from the beginning of the swimming to end of the athletics evening sessions each day (with a few highlights of earlier events thrown in) that is 12.30pm-5pm ET, and that could really have tested the water both for Paralympic coverage and also live daytime coverage.

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I watched the Olympics and Paralympics from the first opening ceremony to the athletes' parade today, and one thing springs to mind: a society is judged upon how it treats its minorities. And on that basis, the eastern side of the Atlantic seems to be so much more advanced than the western side. It is a mystery to me how the Paralympics could be seen as a turnoff, a non-event or an Olympic hangover too far. I watched the Paralympics in 2000, 2004 and 2008 as well. In fact, I find them much more inspiring, much more down-to-earth and so much more about human endeavour and bravery than just about any other event on the planet.

To be frank, I went to the Olympic Games because I got drawn tickets for them, but I truly, truly regret that I didn't get tickets for the Paralympics in the ballot, because they were beyond inspiring. It's Olympics by people who have been through a hardship that the majority of us will never know or understand, like ex-military who were unlucky in the field of combat, or athletes with cerebral palsy, dwarfism, blindness, multiple sclerosis, or who had meningitis. And to read comments about how confusing the categories are, and that's what puts some off, does a great dishonour to them. They are more than Olympians; they are Olympians Plus. Besides, it's very simple. To understand the categories, look at the LEXI system. It's easy.

And to think the nation that calls itself "the leader of the free world", that is still not doing its duty by promoting and nurturing paralympians and giving them their chance to shine is not only yet another slap in the face with a wet fish to those with disabilities, it is also a huge crack in the ever-crumbling façade of US dominance in trendsetting. In fact we shouldn't even be having this conversation.

One paralympian said he felt that after 1996, Sydney was where he felt paralympians were treated as equals, and in London as heroes. I'm so very, very glad these Games were in London. I just wonder about the reception these athletes will receive when they get back to their home countries...

And finally, to think that the broadcasting of the second-largest multi-sport event on the planet is given such short shrift by one of the broadcasters of a nation like the United States shows how minorities still have a long way to go in that country, despite how disabled people are so well-integrated into ordinary society there. I feel almost ashamed to use the word "minority" because they're just the same but with something preventing them from participating in the Olympic Games. But they're still put into a category...

I'd recommend watching some YouTube highlights, to see what you've missed. This is not directed at every US citizen, by the way. Just those who don't see the wonder of it all.

OK, rant over.

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