NBC Says Puck You to Hockey Fans

NBC_Sports_logoIf you’ve ditched your cable recently amid the promise of free broadcast HD and Internet streaming, you were probably surprised yesterday if you are also a hockey fan who went looking for the much hyped USA/Canada Olympic hockey battle. NBC, in their infinite programming wisdom (cf. the recent Tonight Show fiasco), pushed out a hockey game that turned out to be a stunner and an upset victory for Team USA. However, if you went searching for it on your local NBC affiliate you got to view a series of uplifting sob-stories and then some ice dancing instead. Let me repeat: Ice Dancing. Prancing in frilly, rhinestone-studded costumes on skates. The Winter Olympics equivalent of synchronized swimming. A rather bloodless affair that carried no tension, no excitement, nothing really to cheer for unless you’re a huge Bob Fosse On Ice fan. Instead of flying hockey pucks you got frostbitten jazz hands, suckers.

Apparently NBC figured you-the-viewer would prefer to watch the game in standard def on its cable backwater, MSNBC… because when we think of sports we all automatically think the bastard-stepchild of Microsoft and the Peacock. I don’t know about you, but when I want to see endless liberal hobnobbing about current events and the news of the day, I head to MSNBC. When I want to see Olympic sporting events that may or may not make history, I turn to the channel that’s supposed to be carrying this worldwide broadcast for free. Free… remember that…? Free TV sponsored by advertisers available for all to see? NBC, apparently under the impression that we all subscribe to cable and/or satellite to receive our televised entertainment, seems to already be deeply under the sway of soon-to-be newboss, Comcast. Their dedication to their Olympic viewers shows… Rather than watch an incredible team sport that is actually, y’know, meaningful in the larger scope of the Olympics brand of rah-rah nationalism, NBC decided to go the weird touchy-feely route and on its broadcast station (your local NBC affiliate) and, immediately following the Russian/Czech hockey showdown (which would have made a great lead-in, duh!) began to showcase personal stories of Olympic heartbreak and overcoming obstacles (sob, weep) before going gangbusters with, I’ll say it again… Ice Dancing. Surprisingly, NBC neglected to hire Danny Terrio to host and announce the event.

If you, the hockey fan, tried to go the streaming media route, you were met with resistance as NBC’s website required you to list your cable/satellite company (and your user/password) to prove you were a cable or satellite subscriber. Free TV this was clearly not. So, any attempt to view the live hockey event via NBC’s website utilizing Microsoft’s Silverlight streaming media viewer was a no-go if you didn’t already pay a fee to your content provider (cable or satellite). This proves to be true a day later… if you want to see the entire archived game, you still need a paid cable or satellite subscription. NBC, it seems, really doesn’t get streaming media (you’d think they’d put this stuff on Hulu. But it’s another sign of the coming of Comcast that NBC is blowing Hulu off for Olympic broadcasts in order to satisfy the insatiable greed of cable/satellite companies who figure they have sole right to re-broadcast the events for a fee (albeit a standard subscription fee, but still).

NBC gave viewers a massive fail. By all accounts, if your cable or satellite provider didn’t carry MSNBC in HD (and many do not), then even if you were able to see the game you were treated to standard definition without fine detail and stunning color that one expects when they’ve spent their hard-earned bucks on an HD TV and a cable fee. According to today’s Wall Street Journal, NBC figured that women are the biggest audience for the Winter Olympics and they prefer events like… here it is again: Ice Dancing. It’s where the biggest viewership is, according to NBC, and where the bottom-line (shareholder value, cable re-broadcast fees) is best satisfied… So, hockey fans, if you don’t get cable or satellite via a paid subscription… then NO HOCKEY FOR YOU! And even if you do, then you might not get what you pay for. Fail, NBC… big, big fail.

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About the Author:
Christian Hokenson enjoys knife throwing, growing exotic mosses, and that warm spot where the sun shines through the corrugated box. Christian also writes for Gadget Review. You can also find Christian on Google+, and Twitter.

6 Comments on “NBC Says Puck You to Hockey Fans

  1.  by  B Bernard

    I turned it on MSNBC(standard def, not HD) and there was NO hockey! They had a rerun of some prison show. I notice that Discovery had differing programing on their HD and standard channels the other night. This was apparently the case with NBC last night. Big “fail” again, NBC as MSNBC in HD is not available where I reside!

  2. Pingback: Tales of NBC Angst: Huge USA/Canada ratings; bigger fan anger | City Issues

  3.  by  Bo

    If you are too cheap to pay for satellite or cable don’t blame NBC because you had to watch ice dancing, that is your own fault. Quit whining if you were a fan of hockey you would have got satellite or cable. It is not NBC’s fault, it is Christian Hokenson fault that he is too cheap.

  4.  by  Christian Hokenson

    Not cheap… frugal! We are, after all, in one of the WORST ECONOMIC DEPRESSIONS since the 1930′s, but I digress… maybe you have plenty of money falling out of your keister to pay the cable companies their outrageous charges for content when, in reality, you can only watch a fraction of what they offer… and what they offer is often mediocre at best. Not only that, but if your cable company is like mine, then they are the local monopoly without much competition except from satellite providers… But, no sorry, I don’t want your bundle, dear satellite provider… I don’t use a landline anymore (it’s the 21st century… I use a smartphone for, well, just about everything), so I don’t need your bundled phone service, nor do I need your other services… and I don’t want a tier of programming I won’t watch… oh, wait… what’s that?? If I don’t get the bundled package, then I can’t get that desirable (but short-term) rate and will have to pay a larger fee for reduced access? Oh, bummer.

    So, you see, there’s a reason I ditched the cable and never got satellite (read my other articles to find out how it’s done and why). I don’t like paying for what I’m not watching, I don’t like subsidizing other channels I’ll never watch, and I don’t like giving an unbelievable sum of money every month to the only company in town that provides this service, and then only watching the barest fraction of programming. Truth be told, I don’t watch much regular TV (most of it is trash), but figured the live Olympics would be a great bet for good hockey. Since ditching cable (again, see my other articles), I’ve made the leap to Netflix streaming, which has a great on-demand movie selection, Blu-ray media and streaming media (JustinTV, Hulu, etc.) for my entertainment needs and have rarely regretted it. I have plenty of entertainment options with none of the crap that comes with cable. I find myself no longer paying for home shopping networks, foreign language TV (though, admittedly, watching Japanese TV is always fun… it’s broadcast for free and I can pick it up on my HD antenna), paid programming, cable shows with a plethora of ads all over the place (hey! wait! Didn’t I already pay for that with my subscription?!?), and just plain crappy programming (third-rate movies, no-budget SyFy programming, eductainment, infotainment (which probably makes up about 75% of cable programming) and the like.

    Since many folks that did pay through the nose to their cable and/or satellite companies for a standard def broadcast of the USA-Canada hockey game, I think they feel robbed, and I don’t blame them. NBC is slowly moving away from the concept of free broadcasting, and when Comcast takes over, expect much of their programming to be locked down and unavailable online UNLESS you have a paid cable subscription. But, perhaps you like to live in that world and more power to you. I think there’s a better way, a cost-saving way that most folks, like myself, create for ourselves so we’re not dumping money into an endless pit of mediocre service and poor programming choices.

    But hey, thanks for your two cents.

    Cheap I’m not… just smart :)

    Thanks for reading!
    Christian

  5.  by  Guido

    Every couple years NBC comes up with a new way to screw up their coverage with the olympics. This latest fiasco is no different. Who in bloody hell still has a cable subscription these days?? Maybe grandma?? Wake up NBC and smell the flowers–they’re daisies and you’re outdated business models are pushing them up.

  6. Pingback: Hockey Night is in Canada, So Suck It, America | Douchebag Report(tm)

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