I watched the Closing Ceremonies last night and was struck by how NBC managed to burn me out on the Olympics over the course of less than 17 days. I wasn't a guy who did a lot of watching on NBCOlympics.com (much like 95% percent of America) and I kept scouring the NBC affiliated channels to see what different sports were on. As NBC kept telling us, there was to be so much stuff during the Olympics, that we'd have to be checking CNBC, MSNBC, NBC, Univision, Bravo and USA constantly for sports coverage.
Instead, the reality is that CNBC and NBC were often showing the same thing (48kg boxing over and over and over it seemed). Other channels, rather than showing Olympics coverage of any sort, were showing paid programming. The west coast, rather than receiving coverage live, received live to tape from the east coast. Viewers got a steady diet of the "glamor" sports.
My experience with the Olympics consisted of lots and lots of volleyball (we get it... AVP on NBC... we get it), catching Phelps whenever I could and confusion as to why I only saw half an hour of stuff like archery and fencing while every single boxing match was being displayed. Didn't NBC get word that America isn't into boxing anymore? Swords and bows and arrows is where it's at.
After Phelps got his 8th medal and gymnastics finished up, I know we were supposed to shift right over to the track events, but I got burnt out on the lack of variety and the fact that I knew events were going on, but weren't being televised. I ended up missing lots of the track events partly because they were on too late and partly because there was nothing enticing about them. This Olympics was the Phelps show and NBC marketing floundered when it came to showing off anything but Phelps (and Shawn Johnson).
The closing ceremonies were excellent as could be predicted by the opening ceremonies, but I had to laugh at how terribly cheesy Jimmy Page looked while standing on the double decker bus and the cast of Rent. The Chinese had to be thinking, Did you guys not see the show that we threw? Did you really think that interperative modern dance and an old man on the guitar would work?
And what was up with the glow in the dark umbrellas? The Chinese threw 800 Tai Chi masters at us. They threw 2008 drummers with glow in the dark drumsticks at us. The worlds largest LCD screen. People flying around the stadium on zip lines. London is apparently going to throw a lot of the ho hum at us. Jimmy Page? David Beckham? That's relevant?
I wonder how many people will buy the DVD that NBC was pushing towards the end. Pushing the commemorative DVD to anything kinda seems cheesy, and this coming from the guy who bought a Blue Man Group CD. I like Bob Costas and Jim Lampley OK, but I dunno how much of that I can take. Maybe I'll Netflix it.
And I never did get to see the Brazilian Synchonized Swimming team in action. That's gotta count for the fail.