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Thu Feb 8 8:10 pm  #1

Why These Are The Two Worst Media Weeks Of The Year

February is a miserable enough month in Toronto. But then you add in what’s happening over the next two weeks and it becomes almost unbearable for a media addict like me.
Which brings me to a confession you’re never supposed to make, because it’s not politically correct. I hate the Olympics. With a passion. I find the IOC perhaps the most corrupt sports organization on the planet. The events are, in many cases, completely ridiculous. Whoever thought the biathlon made any sense?
Then there’s the hype, which, like “This Is Spinal Tap,” gets turned up to 11, especially in the U.S. I have nothing against the athletes, who train hard and I’m sure are wonderful folks. But they’re competing in meaningless sports and their inspiring stories are often exaggerated and manipulated, like a network reality show.
Even worse, there’s almost no new programming on against them, as every station goes into a 14-day exile of reruns and bad movies, refusing to compete against what they’re sure will be an unbeatable attraction.
Another thing I can’t stand is the Draconian rules for covering the thing if you don’t happen to have shelled out obscene amounts of money for the rights. (And in the case of the CBC, it's your money.) In general, competing newscasts can’t show anything – not a frame of actual video – until 24-48 hours after a major event. I don’t know anyone who wants to see two day old highlights of the luge. Stills are allowed, but that would be like showing the Super Bowl in single frame pictures, long after it ended. What’s the point?

And did you know the IOC actually pays people to monitor websites worldwide looking for anyone who violates this policy? 
“So why don’t you just ignore it?” I hear you say. (Well, actually I don’t hear you, since this board doesn’t include video, but I digress.) The answer is that it’s impossible to avoid it. Mentions of it are on every radio station. Stories are featured on every TV newscast. It’s in all the newspapers. And it’s on every front page of every site online for 14 straight unbearable days.
So enjoy the Winter Games if that's your thing. Me? I hope to hibernate as much as possible and come up for air once they’re finally, mercifully over. At which point NBC will no doubt begin showing a “bug” in the corner of their screen promoting the Summer Olympics two years from now.
I’m sure very few here feel the way I do about this bloated and overly expensive exercise in nationalistic nonsense and I’m sure I’ll hear from them. But if you're like me, you’ll probably agree that it’s the longest two mega-media weeks of the year. And it’s just getting started.
Because as they luge, I lose. As if winter wasn’t bad enough.


Thu Feb 8 8:55 pm  #2

Re: Why These Are The Two Worst Media Weeks Of The Year

wow, you have raised so many points.... few of which are rational.  I will raise only one.... the IOC is the "...most corrupt sports organization on the planet."  try googling FIFA 2022.

Oh, and of course the IOC monitors websites for copyright infringement.  so does the NFL and Major League Baseball.

Nice rant though.


Thu Feb 8 9:06 pm  #3

Re: Why These Are The Two Worst Media Weeks Of The Year

I'm not sure that using FIFA as being equally bad is much of an endorsement! It costs millions of dollars just to BID for the games and then millions more to stage them if you manage to "convince" the IOC to award it to your locale. (I have lots of suspicions about how that "convincing" is done, but I'll leave it to your imagination.) In many cases, the city goes deeply into debt and it takes generations to pay it all off. (I'm looking at you, Montreal!) 

I hope it never comes to Toronto. If you think the hype is bad for an event taking place on the other side of the world, imagine how unbearable it would be if the GTA ever landed this monstrosity. (And if you need more proof, just ask Mike Cleaver about what happened in Vancouver when the Olympics were staged there.) It would make the G-20 look like a lark in a park. 

As MGM mogul Sam Goldwyn is rumoured to have said, "Include me out!"   

     Thread Starter

Thu Feb 8 9:16 pm  #4

Re: Why These Are The Two Worst Media Weeks Of The Year

yes, recent history has shown that host cities go deeply in debt and the venues themselves quickly fall into ruin.  no argument there.  Youtube is full of images of decrepit stadiums.... who the hell needs a bobsleigh track after the olympics?


Thu Feb 8 9:19 pm  #5

Re: Why These Are The Two Worst Media Weeks Of The Year

Just got in from my car club's monthly dinner meeting (not held at High Street this month, sorry J. Oakley) where Bernie Ecclestone and Formula 1 racing was a discussion topic.     Let's face it, is there any large organization whether government or sport where big money doesn't lead to big corruption?   


Thu Feb 8 9:24 pm  #6

Re: Why These Are The Two Worst Media Weeks Of The Year

And I might add that while you're correct that the MLB and the NFL are both highly protective of their rights, I can't think of a single sports organization on Earth that forces you to wait over a day to see the highlights. Leafs play tonight? The recap is on all the 11 PM newscasts. Jays are in a crucial series? You'll see that tonight, as well - even if the game isn't over. Same with the NFL. The Super Bowl replays were everywhere minutes after the contest ended. All they ask in return is an on-air credit supered over the video.  

Only the Olympics makes it virtually impossible for other stations to cover them in any meaningful way. (Although if memory serves, sometimes that brings out the best in broadcasters. I think I once saw Jim McKenny on City TV use a table hockey game to "replay" a key Olympic match, since they couldn't show the real thing. Good for a laugh and very clever, but hardly the same as actually seeing it properly.) 

     Thread Starter

Thu Feb 8 9:33 pm  #7

Re: Why These Are The Two Worst Media Weeks Of The Year


Fri Feb 9 8:18 am  #8

Re: Why These Are The Two Worst Media Weeks Of The Year

RadioActive wrote:

I can't think of a single sports organization on Earth that forces you to wait over a day to see the highlights.  

Not that I agree with it, but I suspect it's because they're a global event and time zones are at play.  If someone wins a medal at 5 pm at these games, that's 3 am on the east coat of North America.  If NBC wants to tape delay it until prime time, that's 17 hours later. The rights are worthless if ESPN is allowed to show highlights all day before it airs in its entirety on NBC.

Last edited by Prod Guy (Fri Feb 9 8:22 am)


Fri Feb 9 9:02 am  #9

Re: Why These Are The Two Worst Media Weeks Of The Year

And I get that. But the very strict lawyer-vetted stringent rules clearly state you can't run ANY highlights, even after they've aired, until up to 24 hours or more afterwards. No other sporting event imposes such hard line demands. It's almost worthless to a TV newsroom to show anything that happened two days ago. Why bother?

As for corruption, NBC News (which has the rights to the games) surprisingly aired a story earlier this week about how biased the judges for events like figure skating are and how completely outrageous the results can be. There are a lot questionable things going on at the Olympics, and only occasionally do they ever do anything about it.

Think Olympic figure skating judges are biased? The data says they might be.

     Thread Starter