Olympics on the cheap.

Are you happy with the coverage of London 2012 ?

For those complaining about not being able to watch more of the Olympics, you should have brought Foxtel. If you want something in life you have to pay for it, regardless of what it is. I’m one of the millions who are sitting through the Coverage of Nine Network, but unlike many I am more than impressed.

The London Olympics are going to be remembered for many things, in particular the use of social media during the Games. A prime example of this is the following which posted was on Nine Network’s Facebook page on Monday night:

Dear Channel 9 any chance you could possibly re think your approach to covering London 2012.

Maybe some volleyball, badminton, table tennis, archery etc in prime times instead of swimming, repeats of swimming, interviews of swimming, analysis of swimming, previews of swimming!

Give the other sports some exposure and recognition for what they have achieved and what they have accomplished!

Kind regards, the rest of Australia!

The  post had more than 75 000 likes by midday the next day, with that number sure to continue to rise as the post gets spread across Facebook.

It raises a few valid points – Nine have run the swimming program like it is a full telecast, Seven did the same thing for the duration of their Olympic coverage. It is the nature of the networks to run the sports which are going to give them the highest ratings as it’s one way they make their money.

What I don’t like is the assumption that because Nine have shown the full Swimming program they aren’t going to show anything else. In the last 60 hours during prime time I have seen – Swimming, Hockey, Diving, Equestrian, Badminton, Canoeing, Water Polo, Rowing, Gymnastics, Cycling and Judo. That’s 11 sports out of the 28 on offer, taking into account that not all of them are on in the first week.

You can look at this figure one of two ways – 11/28 sports is less than a pass mark OR 11/28 sports shows that they are making an effort to cover as much as they can given that they don’t have the same luxuries as Foxtel do.

But I can hear you saying “Nine have a digital channel, why isn’t that being utilised? ” While there has been no explanation from Nine, it must be assumed that they would have to have paid extra for rights to the additional channel. Given this channel isn’t a large chunk of their viewing pie, the money probably wasn’t put on the table for it at any point.

We’ve become spoilt for choice in Australia in the last decade and fans of every sport expect to see what the want when they want, and while this hasn’t been delivered at time during the games on Free To Air, what we have seen is better coverage than what has been offered by many other nations and yes I am referring to the programming gods at NBC in America.

With the choice not to show the Opening Ceremony live coming down to the fact that the audience available to watch it because of work commitments wouldn’t justify it, NBC have continued to treat the American public with contempt.

Coverage tonight will start at 8pm on the West Coast, which is long after events have concluded in London, so not only are they getting condensed coverage, but they are seeing things that they would have already had access to online.

So why would NBC pay so much for the rights to this global sporting feast if they aren’t going to use them ? Because there is a lure to being able to advertise yourself as the “Olympic Network” for the other three years and fifty weeks of the cycle.

I don’t think Nine should be making any commitments to Rio and beyond until their executives are able to sit down and look at what they could have done better at the end of the Games, but I do think there is one key fact that is going to determine what future coverage is like regardless of which network we are glued to.

This is accepting what we have or doing something about it if we have to pay for more coverage.

Australian sports fans have to realise there are going to be fans who aren’t happy with the coverage because their favourite sport isn’t getting more air time,  I’d love to see every game of European Handball throughout the tournament, but sometimes you can’t please everyone.


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