Olympic Opening Ceremony 2012: Controversial Tape Delay Wrong Move by NBC

Tony GiardinaCorrespondent IJuly 27, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27:  Torch bearer Amber Charles stands under giant Olympic rings next to Tower Bridge on the final day of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay on July 27, 2012 in London, England. The Olympic flame is making its way through the capital on the final day of its journey around the UK before arriving in the Olympic Stadium tonight for the Olympic games' Opening Ceremony.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

The Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics are scheduled for Friday, but instead of seeing the festivities live, Americans will be watching them on a tape delay.

NBC is stepping up the coverage for the London games, accounting for about 5,535 hours of television broadcasts across several networks and will even live stream every Olympic sport online. With all these hours of coverage and the capability to watch the games on television, the internet or even a smartphone, one would think the Opening Ceremonies would be included.

Instead, the ceremony that takes place at 4 PM Eastern Time will be played at 7:30 PM Eastern for most of America. Olympic fans will have to wait even longer on the West Coast, where the ceremony won't be played until 7:30 PM Pacific Time.

NBC is really trying to milk this one. Many Americans will see the Opening Ceremony hours after it actually happens, and then the west coast will see it hours after that. It's one of the most watched events in the world, and yet NBC decided that it wasn't important to include it in their planned coverage.

An NBC spokesperson explained the decision:

It was never our intent to live stream the Opening or Closing Ceremony. They are complex entertainment spectacles that do not translate well online because they require context, which our award-winning production team will provide for the large prime time audiences that gather together to watch them. We will be providing clips and highlights of each ceremony online so viewers know what to look forward to in prime time on NBC.

Why make everyone wait?

Sure, the prime time audiences will be much larger than if they just showed the ceremonies live, but why not do both? If they played them live, it would allow those that could watch to enjoy the festivities as they happened.

Then they could replay them in prime time and pick up those that didn't see it the first time. Making everyone wait, some nearly seven hours, is a puzzling decision. So much time and so many resources put into covering the London games, and the Opening Ceremony is left out. 

Even if NBC wanted to keep the television coverage strictly in prime time, they could at least have them streaming online.

All 32 sports and 302 medals will be shown live via the internet. Rather than stream the ceremonies, they will be providing clips and highlights online before the broadcast.

Highlights of the ceremony? Watching canoeing, sailing or table tennis live at any time is no problem, but the Opening Ceremony is apparently too much.

In NBC's supposedly unprecedented coverage of the 2012 Olympics in London, they started out with a big miss. Instead of giving the people what they wanted, their decision to make everyone wait is a controversial beginning to the 2012 games.