Could This Be The LAST Televised Olympics?

There’s an old saying…”All good things must come to an end”. And it appears that it’s true for the hey-day of Olympic broadcasts. At least televised Olympic broadcasts. NBC took over the Olympic coverage from ABC decades ago and has used it to help it’s sub-par programming every four years. Perennially last in newscasts and programming, at least NBC could look to the Olympics once in the summer and once in the winter to help it out. Well, it appears the adage is stronger than the network.

The latest ratings to come out on the Olympics say that less than 10% of all Americans are watching. Actually about 28.7 million Americans are tuning in. It works itself out to a 15.1 rating (which is a percentage of all households tuned to a specific channel). Now, that is a pretty good number. Most of the time if you’re getting a rating of more than 3 or 4 in television, you’ve got a hit on your hands. But the ratings for Friday night slipped to 6.3. That was still enough to blow away everything else that night, but there were only two shows that weren’t reruns. Fox had baseball which garnered a 0.5 rating and about 1.98 million viewers. ABC’s “What Would You Do” had a 0.9 rating and 3.68 million viewers. Even with a huge drop in the numbers, NBC still had over 23 million people watching.

So what’s the big deal? Well, the ratings a down significantly from four years ago in London. It may be because of all of the problems of the Rio games, or it may just be that we aren’t interested with 90 hours a week of coverage. OK…my wife is. But other than her. And she cheats. She uses a DVR and can watch 4 hours of coverage in 8 minutes. And with what NBC is charging advertisers, they aren’t going to be coming back because the audience doesn’t justify the price.

One bright spot that NBC should consider is the internet. That’s where TV is headed anyway. They are getting HUGE numbers of folks streaming stuff. And not for 90 hours a week. Coverage there is drawing 1.5 billion hits in the first week, far out-pacing their television coverage. Could it be that in four years we are watching the Olympics on the internet and reruns of The Blacklist on television? It may not be a bad idea!

Sitting there on the computer while my wife watches beach volleyball, I’ve come to the conclusion that NBC has saved a LOT of money hiring no-name announcers to do these sports that are only covered once every four years. I mean, who cares much about women’s rowing, or men’s water polo when it’s not the Olympics? Still less of us even know the rules. So finding an announcer who’s well versed in this stuff is tough, and you usually get people that aren’t that good. It’s a lot easier to pan off third rate announcers on the internet crowd where things are still a lot newer, and more forgiving.

In the end, all good things must come to an end…and the days of wall to wall Olympic coverage on TV may be next. We can only hope so!

Carry on world…you’re dismissed!


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