Let's start with this -- I'm not anti-NBC, anti-media, or anti-Bob Costas. I know a lot of people like to take shots at the flowery puff pieces and the overall presentation, but I really don't mind that stuff. I actually kind of like learning a bit about the athletes. But at this Olympics, NBC had made so many bad strategic decisions that they are making Chik-Fil-A's marketing guy look like Don Draper. We've only had three days of action, and already FIVE major blunders.
5. Refusing to show the Opening Ceremonies live: Americans couldn't even watch the Opening Ceremonies online. The Opening Ceremonies are supposed to be a worldwide showing of unity and a global celebration of sports. But the residents of one of the foremost Olympic nations can't watch live? Are we in North Korea?
4. "Live" streaming of marquis events: Judging from Twitter and Facebook, I'm not alone here. Thousands of Americans have tried (and failed) to log in and watch the big swimming events. I can't decide the worst part here: the poor quality of the system, the constant ads while your screen is buffering, or the fact that you can't even watch a replay online. Oh wait, I know what's worse than all of those...
3. NBC reveals results of events we can't watch: Through Tweets, Web content, and broadcast news, NBC ironically might be the national leader in spoilers. NBC doesn't even buy into its own "wait until prime time" strategy. If you are going to spoil the results, at least give a live TV offering on an obscure channel or something.
2. Worst spoiler ever: Last night, NBC outdid itself with what may have been the worst spoiler in the history of tape-delayed sports (and what a rich history it is). Let's say you bought into NBC's primetime agenda. You avoided results all day. You stayed off the Internet, didn't watch the news, didn't even talk to your friends and family. You settle in thinking, "I did it!" You watch Missy Franklin swim her prelim, and as Ryan Lochte barely misses a medal, you nervously wonder if Franklin can possibly have a chance at a medal on just 10 minutes rest. The tension builds as NBC goes to commercial with Franklin still swimming cool down laps. Then, NBC shows a promo for the Today Show... that reveals Franklin wins gold. Are you freaking kidding me?!?!? But that's not even NBC's worst blunder so far.
1. NBC cuts anti-terrorism tribute from Opening Ceremonies: Much has been written about this, so I won't go into too much detail (you can read a bit more and watch it here) but it's inexplicable. It makes no sense whatsoever. It's particularly ironic given that Costas went out of his way before the Games to bash the IOC for not honoring the 1972 Israeli Olympic team. I'll never understand this one.
You know what might have made it a little better? A live stream. Oh well, maybe next time.