LONDON (Reuters) – Olympic boxing’s governing body said it had asked London Games’ organizers to tell American broadcaster NBC to cease its ringside commentary at the boxing arena on Friday because they were disrupting officials.
NBC, a unit of Comcast Corp, was the only broadcaster allowed to commentate from the ringside floor and the International Boxing Association (AIBA) said they disturbed officials sitting next to them throughout the competition.
It recommended to the London organizing committee (LOCOG) that NBC’s commentary team leave their position. They were offered a space with the other media but decided to leave instead, AIBA said.
“NBC commentators were offered a booth in the media tribune like other broadcasters because they were very disturbing for AIBA officials – even during bouts they were not broadcasting – being located at the edge of the Field of Play,” an AIBA spokesman said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
“They claimed that since no boxers from the USA were still in the running, they didn’t want to stay anyway.”
NBC could not immediately be reached for comment.
AIBA said NBC cameramen were still recording footage at the arena and that the fights would be commentated on from New York.
NBC has paid $4.4 billion for the U.S. rights to the next four Olympics through 2020 and has attracted big audiences to tune in for the London Games by tape-delaying marquee events to air in the evening, maximizing viewers and advertising dollars.
Lazarus said NBC, which at one point stood to lose $200 million on the event, had a small chance of making “a little bit of money” because of the strong ratings performance.
However he was also forced to give an impassioned defense of the network’s coverage on a conference call, conceding that some of the criticism leveled at the network had been “fair”.
A small, but vocal contingent of critics have stormed Twitter, Facebook and other social media, decrying the network’s tape-delayed broadcasts, technical glitches with online streaming, heavy promotions and even its cast of commentators.
U.S. media have also reported ringside comments from one of NBC’s boxing commentators, trainer Teddy Atlas, who was highly critical at the officiating of the London Games.
America’s women boxers picked up two medals on Thursday, one a gold, but its men had their worst performance at an Olympic Games, failing to win a medal for the first time.
NBC’s Top Five Questionable Choices for Coverage of the Olympic Games
The ratings are out for the previous week. It seems that with more than 30 million viewers, the clear winner is NBC. The network’s exclusive coverage of the Olympic Games drew in many more viewers than any other network’s programming. Despite the top notch ratings, there have been some problems with the coverage.
Here is a look at the top five coverage problems that viewers have noticed:
Ignoring Tribute to Terrorist Victims
According to NBC, there were several moments during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games that had to be cut for length, audience and commercials. NBC received some criticism for failing to air a tribute to victims of a terrorist attack that occurred in London, England, in 2005. NBC claims to have not realized this had been a tribute to terrorist victims, but the damage was done.
Just after Gabby Douglas won the gold medal in women’s gymnastics for the individual all-around, announcer Bob Costa indicated that perhaps she would now be an inspiration to many young African-American girls. NBC then cut to a commercial that featured a monkey performing gymnastics. The commercial was for an upcoming sitcom on the network.
One NBC program featured an interview with a random person who was picked out of a crowd. Fans across the country likely instantly recognized that the man who had been picked was actually former boxing champion Evander Holyfield. Unfortunately, those in charge of the NBC program did not appear to recognize him and did not take advantage of what could have been a great impromptu interview.
Spoiling Missy Franklin‘s Big Win
In a commercial that aired just before Missy Franklin‘s first medal in a swimming competition, there was a promotion for the next day’s morning show that would feature an interview with Missy Franklin. Unfortunately, the commercial made it clear that the swimmer got the gold medal. Americans who had avoided the spoilers of her victory were understandably upset at not being able to enjoy the suspense while watching the race.
Usain Bolt‘s Big Win
For those who wanted to see Olympic events in real time, and not wait for the primetime showing of the edited events, NBC streamed many events over the internet. Unfortunately, it just so happened that the stream began buffering during the men’s 100m race. As one of the most hyped races during the 2012 Olympic Games, some fans wondered if this was done on purpose to get people to watch the race on NBC during primetime.
- NBC criticized for not airing Phelps race live (insidetv.ew.com)
- Olympic boxing judges under fire amid ‘fix’ claims (nbcolympics.com)
- Sarah J. Jackson: What’s Wrong with Media Coverage of Women Olympians? (huffingtonpost.com)
- How NBC Could Make An Olympics That People Wouldn’t Hate [London Olympics] (deadspin.com)