On paper, Sunday night’s Olympic ice hockey game between the U.S. and Canadian teams would have seemed like a marquee event, something deserving of prime time coverage in HD. But NBC relegated coverage of the game to sibling channel MSNBC, which isn’t available in HD to a large number of viewers.
NBC had made the announcement late last week that it was moving the game to cable so that it could be shown uninterrupted by coverage of other events. However, in doing so, they picked a station that isn’t available in HD to millions of viewers, including all DirecTV and RCN cable subscribers. And oh yeah… it’s not available at all to people who don’t have cable.
One irate viewer pulled out the poison pen to write these words to NBC Sports honcho Dick Ebersol:
“I want to watch the US/Canada hockey game. Is it on NBC? Nope. No big deal, I will just watch it on Hulu since you own that site. Oooops, Hulu isn’t showing the olympic videos. Well, that kind of sucks. Now I have to go to a new site and register for it as well. Oh look, you’re forcing me to register for a sweepstakes in order to watch the game. Let me look at the seven page disclaimer for said sweepstakes. Yep, as I thought, you’re going to sell my personal information to “select partners.” So now I am going to get spam. Thanks. I really just wanted to watch a hockey game.
Great, now you bastards want me to go find my cable bill to prove I pay to watch your crappy network. Let me go and try to find it, as I don’t exactly keep that lying around on the off chance that I want to watch a hockey game. Ok, finally found it. Awesome, your buggy website keeps crashing as I try to confirm that I have an account. Oh great, now you’ve locked up my system .TWICE. Thirty five minutes have passed since I’ve started trying to watch your web feed of the event, and now your website is saying that even though I verified it three times that I have to call my cable company, who is closed. Hey look, now NBC is announcing the score without a warning. Now I know who won, and this has all been pointless.
Tell me again why I shouldn’t just download a bit torrent of the events with your numerous commercial breaks removed? Seriously. Why I should spend almost an hour so far trying to watch a video feed through your website, jump through numerous hoops, be forced to let you sell my personal information, and still be unable to watch my hockey game, when I could just pirate it in a much easier, pleasant manner?”
What would have been the best way to NBC to handle the coverage of the game? What if multiple networks were allowed to broadcast the Olympics?
U.S. vs. Canada hockey on MSNBC: Some people have it in HD; you probably don’t [Chicago Tribune]
An email to Dick Ebersole [Out Under Stars]