Sunday, June 07, 2009

NBC sucks

So ems texts me and asks me if I'm watching tennis on NBC. Of course I don't notice because I'm out of the room or whatever. So she calls, all excited, it's in the fifth set. I'm thinking hmm, Federer let Soderling hang around for two more sets? She says no, Federer's losing in the fifth set.

Whereupon I discover that she's watching last year's Wimbledon final. Except that she doesn't realize it. (She's not much of a tennis fan, so it's understandable she didn't pick up on details about the match.)

The problem is that Federer dispatched Soderling quickly, and of course the guide will show French Open Final for the entire time ... but instead of showing a crawl at the bottom of the screen to let you know what's going on (like every other network in the world would), or putting something up on the screen, NBC stupidly airs part of that match unedited ... complete with their "LIVE" text at the bottom of the score.

Why is this bad? Well, imagine that you don't know much about tennis, so you figure you'll watch the French Open for a bit. You tune in to see this. You don't know clay or grass or what, you don't know any of that, so you're watching this epic match, and all excited ... and then when it's over, NBC cuts back to Federer talking about the jackass fan. You don't realize what happened. In fact, you might be confused. Why is Federer smiling if he just lost? And if there's no one to explain it to you, it might discourage you from following the sport.

Okay, that's a lot of words. A better explanation? It's bad because it's clearly incorrect. That was absolutely not live. NBC should know better, except that they haven't done a good job on sporting events since they lost the AFC games to CBS. The only reason they do NHL games is because the NHL is desperate and NBC isn't paying rights fees, and they're doing the Olympics because they tricked the IOC into a long-term deal back before the IOC knew what it was doing. (I mean, not that they know now.)

So anyway, NBC Sports sucks. again.

Update: ESPN sent me a survey about tennis coverage. I told them "don't be like NBC", oh yes I did.


  1. Why would they play a tennis match from last year? Isn't that the job of the cable sports channels? I would have never expected that from network TV.

  2. It's a sports thing, and probably unique to tennis. In most other sports, they schedule a fixed window, and if the game runs long, they preempt other programs. In this case, NBC left a big window for the match: when it ran shorter than they hoped, they had to fill a lot of time, so they wanted to show more tennis. (Of course, it would have made more sense to show matches from this tournament, highlights, that kind of thing, but this is NBC, and they suck.)

  3. AND THEY DIDN'T EVEN MENTION WHAT HAD JUST HAPPENED!!!! That's what I couldn't believe. They cut back to the ACTUAL French Open and they're all doing commentary and talking about the crazy fan etc etc, and don't even say something like "And now back to the live programming - wasn't that replay of the 2008 Wimbolden final fantastic?!"


  4. Another analogy would be to rain-delayed baseball ... invariably, a channel that wants to show baseball but can't will put something else on and then run a crawl at the bottom of the screen, like "Today's game between Boston and Detroit is currently in a rain delay ... you are watching a rebroadcast of Tuesday's game between the Tigers and the Indians ...", so that you know right away what's going on.

    NBC: we're still here! No, really ... hey, wait, where are you going? Come back! Remember Johnny Carson? Remember when SNL was funny? That was us! We were funny! We were good!