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February 23, 2022

NBC's Olympics Were a "Disaster," and They Fear Brand Might Be "Tainted" Forever

NBC thought they were pretty smart when they paid $7.75 billion (with a b) in 2014 for exclusive rights to the Olympics through 2032.

But after the spectacle of the communist-friendly network repulsively toadying up to Putin and now to Xi, people just don't seem to care anymore.

The New York Times called the Olympic Games "a joyless spectacle," while other media adjectives include "the low bar of avoiding total disaster."

According to the Associated Press, through Tuesday, an average of 12.2 million watched the Olympics in primetime on NBC, cable, or its Peacock streaming service, a 42-percent dip from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

"Only 10 million watched NBC alone, a 47-percent drop from 2018, and through early last week, it was down 57 percent in the critical 25-54 age demographic from the Seoul games," Fox News reported, noting the Super Bowl viewership boost NBC got from airing the Olympics right after the network aired the game.

Slate said NBC's TV ratings didn't take into account metrics from viwers watching on social media or streaming services, but acknowledged how "China's blatant disregard of human rights added a repulsive element to this year's festivities."

Fellow communist-friendly media platform AP was no kinder to NBC.

These Olympics were a disaster for the network: a buzz-free, hermetically-sealed event in an authoritarian country a half-day's time zone away, where the enduring images will be the emotional meltdown of Russian teen-agers after a drug-tainted figure skating competition and a bereft Mikaela Shiffrin, sitting on a ski slope wondering what went wrong.

Many American athletes underperformed, and arguably the most successful -- freestyle skier Eileen Gu -- competed for China.

Viewers stayed away in alarming numbers, and NBC has to wonder whether it was extraordinarily bad luck or if the brand of a once-unifying event for tens of millions of people is permanently tainted.

"Given the investment, they've got to be disappointed right now," said Andrew Billings, director of the sports communications program at the University of Alabama.


Network executives say there are no plans to try and adjust or escape from its rights deal. Several experts say that would be unlikely, given how live sports are increasing in value and represent one of the few ways advertisers can gather large audiences to sell automobiles or beer. NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel talks optimistically about future games in Paris, Italy and Los Angeles.

It's telling that they're even bringing up the possibility of weaseling out of their Olympics deal.

The taint of this Olympics comes not only from NBC broadcasting Chinese Communist Propaganda -- same shit different day; what sports broadcast doesn't incorporate CCP propaganda nowadays? -- but from the Kamila Valieva doping scandal. The 15-year-old Russian figure skater was caught on in a doping scandal, on three different heart medications that increased endurance. Instead of being eliminated from competition, the regulatory committee rewrote the rules to keep her in the competition, claiming that an underage athlete could not have the rules applied against her.

Then she placed fourth, falling four times, and seemed terrified of having disappointed her coaches and minders, and what punishments awaited her back home.

Does anyone really want to celebrate this kind of thing any more?

Why are we competing with shithole countries? Who cares if we beat these animals or not? I only care if we beat civilized humans.



One woman on Twitter proclaimed the Olympics were "over for me. My lasting impression will be fake snow against a backdrop of 87 nuclear reactors in a country with a despicable human rights record during a pandemic. And kids who can look forward to years of therapy."

The image of Valieva standing alone on the ice, looking terrified before her performance, stuck with NBC's Mike Tirico. "The adults in the room left her alone," he said on the air. "Portrayed by some this week as the villain, by others as the victim. She in fact is the victim of the villains."

While there has long been corruption in the bidding process for the Olympics, the Valieva episode tarnished the actual competition, Billings said.

"That's even more damaging to the product," he said.


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posted by Ace at 03:40 PM

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