London 2012: Why NBC's Tape Delay of the Summer Olympics Is the Right Decision

Dave Radcliffe@DaveRadcliffe_Contributor IIIAugust 3, 2012

The 2012 Summer Olympics have gotten everyone jacked up on mountain dew, but unfortunately not for all the right reasons.

Whether it's because people want to see the event live or are upset that someone ruins the result, some have taken issue with the way NBC is handling its Olympic coverage. It's even caused the hashtag #NBCFail to trend on Twitter.

It's probably happened to just about all of us by now—we hop on the Internet or check our phones, only to accidentally find out the US women's gymnastics team won gold or Michael Phelps failed to medal in the 400-meter individual medley.

There are always going to be people—and other networks—who reveal the results as they happen, and there's no way to stop it whether we like it or not.

Maybe some of you don't mind these "spoilers," but I've personally had to unsubscribe from my phone updates sent by a certain four-letter network because they have already ruined several Olympic events for me.

It's always been this way at NBC—it will tape delay some of the most prevalent events and air them in prime time, and as far as I'm concerned, that's perfectly fine.

Realistically, you can't really expect NBC to stop airing Olympic coverage once the day's events have concluded in London. With the time difference, that would be around 5 or 6 p.m. standard central time in America.

NBC has recently come out and defended their decision to tape delay certain events.

As a matter of fact, research has shown that people who know the results of the tape delayed events are more likely to watch them—not less likely.

This is refreshing news for NBC, but you have to believe a lot of the suspense is removed from the equation. Still, it's apparent that people who know the results ahead of the event airing on television are intrigued as to how the event played out, and as a result tune in to NBC's prime time coverage.

And it's not like people can't watch the events as they're happening. NBC live streams all events on their website for those who don't want to wait for television coverage and risk the result being spoiled.

Many people who work during the day aren't going to have the option to watch the Olympic coverage whether it's on television or streaming on the Internet, which is just another notch in the belt for the argument that events should be tape delayed.

Sure, NBC has had some miscues (see: airing the Today Show preview on Missy Franklin winning gold before showing her race), but that's beside the point.

One particular Olympic athlete—U.S. swimmer and gold medalist Tyler Clary—even had a little fun with the tape delay. The men's 200-meter backstroke aired Thursday night and Clary live-tweeted the race, an idea other athletes should mimic.

How awesome is that? Having the opportunity to watch your event, which is airing for the first time, and engaging your audience on Twitter. 

I know there is one issue I'm failing to address—that it's poor journalism in today's day and age to fail showing every single event live on television.

Fine. I can understand that. So how about for those people who aren't stuck in their cubicles all day, NBC airs the event when it happens on one of its several stations (NBC Sports, Bravo, MSNBC, CNBC, Oxygen)?

If NBC still wants to keep some results under wraps that will air during prime time, it makes sense to me.

For those networks that don't air the Olympics (I'm looking at you, Mother Ship), how about a little heads up that you're about to ruin it for all of us? I get that it's tough not having rights to the Olympic coverage, but don't take out your frustrations on the rest of us.

All I ask is for a warning. 

NBC can thank me later, but even as it stands right now, NBC tape delaying the Summer Olympics is the right call.