It's Time for ESPN To Take Over the Olympic Coverage

Tom McLeanCorrespondent IFebruary 22, 2010

LAKE PLACID, NY - AUGUST 15:  Ion-Georgy Kostey #13 of Team Russia skates against Team USA at the 1980 Rink Herb Brooks Arena on August 14, 2009 in Lake Placid, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

For as long as I can remember, NBC has one of the first things that I think of when I hear about the Olympics. Either Winter or Summer games coverage, NBC's special jingle and great broadcasting teams have made the experiences undoubtedly unique. And I was one of the first to blame the American public for the financial deficit facing NBC this winter.

But whether it was Dick Ebersol or some other high-up T.V. executive, the decisions made during these games by NBC have been nothing short of embarrassing.

I live in the Pacific Time Zone. The Olympics, in all of my life, have never been in my time zone. And yet, I can't watch snow-cross, women's downhill, or men's moguls live. This doesn't make any amount of sense. 

To those that say they like watching the Olympics at night like it is now, do you really think you wouldn't be able to watch the games at the times of their events? And couldn't NBC have the same kind of show it has now on another one of their networks and people could still have their Olympic fix after dinner? This is only one of the NBC failures. 

The most upsetting offense came Feb. 21 as the United States and Canada took to the ice in Men's Hockey. NBC had the chance to broadcast the game that millions of North Americans would watch with great interest. Instead, NBC felt that more Americans would rather watch Russia and the Czech Republic.

Are there really that many Russian or Czech-Americans?

Notice this problem has nothing to do with time zones or scheduling game times; this has everything to do with the simple fact that NBC screwed up. The Canada-USA matchup needs to be on the main network, not the much secondary MSNBC or CNBC channels.  If NBC can justify this to the small town family in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Illinois that don't have MS or CNBC, then I will happily eat my words.  

I am aware that both Russia and the Czech Republic have great teams and amazing players, but I want to see my countrymen in action. I have been wanting to see Patrick Kane, Ryan Miller, and Jack Johnson in action since the initial roster was announced, and instead of watching them in HD at home with my friends I have to find another location that has MSNBC. Not very smart.

My solution to the NBC failure is simple: ESPN. Why not have a network that has all the different channels to sustain full Olympic coverage? There is no question that NBC would be one of the first channels I would turn to when looking for news and cultural events, but ESPN is where I would turn to for all things sports. Tiger's interview? ESPN. Post Super Bowl coverage? ESPN. The NCAA basketball conference championships? ESPN. It makes sense to have sports on a sports-specific network.

NBC has had a great run with the Olympics, but now it's obvious that their priorities are poorly placed. It's time to turn to a network and family of channels that know how to broadcast sports and maintain the great sports experience because NBC clearly doesn't know how to do Olympic coverage at the highest level anymore.