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February 17th, 2010:

Memo to NBC: Improving Olympic Coverage

NBC BuildingThe Olympics are an important event. They are how, in a relatively peaceful world, we determine what the best country in the world is.  They are not about boring personal stories, inspirational voiceovers or some greater international “Olympic Dream.” They are about which county wins and which loses. As such, I have a few recommendations about how to enhance your coverage.

DISPLAY THE MEDAL COUNT OFTEN

How do we know what county is winning if you only show us the medal count at the end of the night? You need to slap that baby up there every time you come back from commercial, just to remind those of us with a short attention span where things stand.

LET US KNOW ABOUT THE HORSERACE

Economists, bookies and sports analysts all have projections on how many (and which) medals every county is projected to win. Let us know about them and keep us up to date on whether or not team USA is keeping pace with expectations. In short, cover this like you would an election.

MORE EVENTS / LESS BIO

No one will remember who these athletes are in a week, so why are you wasting our time with their (not very compelling) bio spots. We already know that they train hard every day and lead bizarre lives devoted to mastering niche sports. So you can stop wasting our time with sentimental bio spots. Spend the time saved explaining the rules, development or technology behind the game instead. I’m sure the story of how they mixed skinning and shooting is more compelling than most of these bios anyway.

IDENTIFY WHICH COUNTRY PEOPLE ARE FROM

When I’m watching skiing or snowboard races, I want to know who the good guys are. You need to have a key on the screen up at all times that shows who’s who so that I know whom to root for. The flag overlays you do during Speed Skating or Summer Olympic Swimming are good models for what needs to happen.

TRANSLATE METRIC MEASUREMENTS

You paid $2 billion for the rights to broadcast the next two Olympics in America. The least you can do is invest a few bucks to translate these meaningless metric measurements for the viewers back home. I’d like to know how fast lugers are going, but some figure displayed in KM/H is meaningless to me. Put that in the good old MPH that we all understand.

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