Running Over The Frustratingly Difficult NBC Race Course


image0.jpegThe 1969 NCAA XC Championships at Van Cortlandt Park with (L-R) Steve Prefontaine & Champ Gerry Lindgren

image1.jpegHey NBC!
You have solid broadcasters - they just have to be used right with the correct programming and scheduling!

Many of our readers and viewers are getting up at all hours to view the Tokyo Olympics, but NBC has presented info so confusingly that NBC is loosing viewers.

Jeff Benjamin wrote this modest piece on the difficulty of trying to watch NBC and understand their approach.

I have to say, I have almost missed major event 2-3 times due to changes or misinformation posted on how NBC is managing the covering of the Olympics.

I sure hope that they do this better for the 2022 World Championships!

Running Over The Frustratingly Difficult NBC Race Course

By Jeff Benjamin

There's something about the Cross-Country back hills of Van Cortlandt Park that defies explanation.

While there are tougher hills on other courses, crossing over the bridge after 1-Mile turns into the 5 or 6 or 7 minutes of hell as rookie and veteran runners never truly know what incline & decline obstacles are coming next, no matter how many times one runs it.

Steve Prefontaine ran there - at the 1969 November NCAA Championships - finishing 3rd behind Gerry Lindgren and Michael Ryan and never came back.

When one runs there they are holding the course to task for sure and we, the competitor is accountable.

Now, with the NBC Olympic Track & Field Broadcasts, many viewers feel as though they are traversing through the difficult, up and down Van Cortlandt hills, with no relief in sight.

But it's NOT the participating viewer who should be held to task here, but NBC

on this frustrating and challenging programming.

The powers that be at NBC have not only hurt the sport we all love, but have hampered their broadcasts crews as well.

With NBC, USA, NBC Sports, Peacock, The Olympic Channel, and who knows what else all broadcasting live and tape-delayed events at different times of the night (Men's taped 10K after midnight EST on NBC where Kara Goucher's insights and stories were great!) and Day (Live Track events on Peacock early in the morning EST) and sometimes live finals shown on 2 channels at once hosted by 2 different broadcast crews the NBC power people have presented the viewers with a frustratingly confusing batch of programming that is just as challenging as the back hills of Van Cortlandt! Many of us simply have no clue when events will be shown, either live or tape-delayed! This leads to viewers getting to know the broadcasters consistently as well, as solid Veterans Leigh Diffey, Tim Hutchings, Sanya Richards-Ross, Ato Boldon Paul Swangard, Alyssa Montano, and the others are all respectfully part of different channel crews covering the sport.

Add into these factors a generation of viewers who don't even know what an app is or how to use it and one does not need to wonder as to one reason why the Olympic TV ratings are low according to the news.

Case in Point - looking to find the Men's live 1500 heats, this writer along with others who've spoken with me jumped from NBC to USA network (which showed WWE wrestling in the slot!) to Peacock with no success, almost losing out hope until one of us found it on of all channels - CNBC! One would think with the defending American Olympic Champion competing it would have been moved to a more marquis channel. But, what do I know and who knows what channel the semis will be shown on Thursday?

This writer truly hates to write negative stuff. I'm sure the other sports fans of their respective passion are feeling frustrated as well. BUT OUR Sport is at stake. It has enough issues out there which are challenging enough. We all don't need the task of trying to find the channel which hopefully shows those live events - yes - with qualifiers, heats, and semis too- with the athletes we follow, root for, and love without some sort of guidance which should not have to come primarily from social media blasts from our athletes in those events. They have more important things to concern themselves about, than wondering if we are going to be able to tune or log in to watch them.

NBC is no stranger to this. The handling of the 1988 Seoul Olympics for its era was done masterfully, and I was a big fan of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Triplecast option of that era.

But it's now up to NBC to change the course, so to speak, so that all viewers can successfully complete this course without challenges and confusion in 2024 and beyond.

Just gotta make the course easier, so Execs, Viewers and Athletes can all cross the finish line and celebrate successfully!

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