Some NBC Commentators to be Monitoring Olympics from Afar

Jim McKay took pride in traveling all over the world to broadcast sports. And while I’m sure he would understand some of NBC’s upcoming moves for the Beijing Olympics, he probably wouldn’t agree.

NBC is sending thousands of people to Beijing to broadcast the Olympics. And there will be a lot of big name broadcasters there to relay the sounds and images of the games. But while NBC will be televising hundreds of hours of events, some of the voices that you hear describing the events will actually be in New York City, watching the game on monitors.

Oh, the track and field guys will actually be there at the track. And the gymnastics and swim folks will be on the scene. But if you’re a fan of one of those minor Olympic sports, like baseball, softball, soccer, tennis, badminton, fencing, basketball, equestrian, handball, archery or shooting, well, the odds are that you will have just as good a seat as the commentator.

NBC claims that is part of an Olympic mandate to reduce strain on Beijing’s infrastructure, but it’s hard to imagine how 30 to 40 commentators out of thousands of crew members are going to make that big a difference on Beijing’s infrastructure. And you would think that NBC might have learned a little something from ESPN’s Euro Cup debacle where it didn’t send commentators for the games and relied on an international video feed, only to lose all video during a key moment of the match with no one on the scene to give any audio on what was happening.

Yeah, I know. How dare I expect the commentators to actually be onsite? After all, if I can bitch and rant about the Astros from my living room, these guys can break down the weather and turf conditions at the baseball stadium.

Unless they lose the picture, that is. -- John Royal


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