View Full Version : OT Are you watching the Olympics

08-16-2004, 11:47 AM
Correct me if I am wrong, but I sense that the Olympics are losing the appeal they once had.

In my family watching the Olympics was something we always did as a family, the winter Olympics of 1980 at Lake Placid NY, and the summer Olympics in LA of 1984 are the ones I will never forget. Back then it seemed to me that everyone was watching.

However the sense I get is that the younger generation, (those younger than me) have not grown up watching the Olympics and therefore you don't really watch them now.

I watch every minute I can. Sports that I don't care about at all, I enjoy watching during the Olmpics. In the summer games, I really enjoy, swimming the most but I watch about everything and anything that is on. During the winter games, I really enjoy the downhill skiing and the short track speed skating, but once again I enjoy all of the sports.

Ok with that long set up, I have a couple of questions for you.

Are you watching the Olympics at all, and if you are how much. Do you just watch certain sports or do you sit down in front of the TV and watch for hours on end no matter what sport is being shown.

Why aren't you watchiong the Olympics?

Are you only a basketball and football guy.

08-16-2004, 11:55 AM
I'm a basketball and football guy and have absolutely no interest in the Olympics at all. My fiancee and her entirely family were all swimmers in HS, so if I am going to watch TV with her right now, I'll be watching swimming. However, since I find that to be incredibly boring, I just don't watch with her.

As you suggested, I didn't ever watch the Olympics growing up, and I can't wait for them to be over. That being said, I did watch a table tennis match on Saturday because I find that to be somewhat interesting. Those guys are insanely good. But track and field? Swimming? Gymnastics?

No thank you.

08-16-2004, 12:16 PM
I'm definitely watching the olympics. I'm a big Track guy.

I also enjoy seeing the competitions that aren't normally on TV, i.e. volleyball, rowing, javelin, hammer throw, shot, discus, etc.

I even enjoy gymnastics.

That being said, I could probably sit down and watch an entire day full of Olympic coverage.

08-16-2004, 01:21 PM
I too grew up watching the olympics with my family.

While I am not glued to the TV right now for all the events, I do try to tune in to events when I have time.

I was a swimmer in high school so I enjoy watching those events, and I don't know why but I have enjoyed watching the girls gymnastics, although not as much as in years past.

I also watched a little bit of the basketball yesterday but when I saw the *** whooping they were being handed, I switched to the Iraq/costa rica soccer game and watched that. I have to say I am not a soccer fan, but I sat and watched all 90 minutes or so of that game cheering for Iraq to win. Guess it was a pride thing for what the US has just done over there. Plus I feel that it would be a boost to the morale of the Iraqis which many over there could probably use right now.

So the answer to your question UB is yes I'm watching the olympics this year:)

08-16-2004, 01:38 PM
They really don't hold my interest. I'll watch them randomly for something to do, but that's about it.

08-16-2004, 01:49 PM
Well i am 29 and would not say i grew up watching them, but i really enjoy watching them now. There is something about the patriotism and hard work by amateur athletes that really appeals to me.

I try to watch as much as possible and as many events as possible. i especially enjoy the swimming/diving, track, and volleyball events. I actually tend to not watch the baseball/basketball type events as i see enough of that normally, but i like to watch the stuff i that isnt mainstream.

08-16-2004, 02:09 PM
I don't usually make an appointment to watch (make sure a I catch this or that) but I do enjoy things like track, gymnastics, and swimming, I also like diving. While I would rather the US basketball team win, this year's basketball is at least watchable (as far as a competition goes) than many of the previous Olympics. I just couldn't see a reason to watch the Dream Teams glide to a gold time after time.

I watch the winter Olympics far less but there are better American sports on at the time (better than the one during during the summer Olympics not better than the Olympics).

Pig Nash
08-16-2004, 02:11 PM
I watch as much as i can.

Vicious Tyrant
08-16-2004, 02:15 PM
I have never been a fan of the Olympics. I root for both the US competitor, but I also root for the underdog. Since these two things are rarely the same, I almost always feel like "my guy" lost regardless of the outcome. I think I'd be more of a fan if I lived in Burundi, so I could at least root for my team and the underdog at the same time.

That said, I enjoy winter events far more than summer events. I'll actually make time to watch winter olypmic events.

Also, I can't relate to Olympic atheletes as much as "Big three" athletes. Olympians tend to seem like really obsessive/compulsive types of people (IMHO), so it's not fun to watch them for me. Big Three athletes seem to have more fun playing their sport.

08-16-2004, 02:30 PM
I think alot of people have been turned off by the Olympics in recent years due to the corruption and excessively monopolistic display it has become.

Here in Australia, we get a pretty crappy coverage really. But its all on non-cable tv so it aint too bad.

Ch7 is the main channel, all the coverage is packed with advertising to an almost excessive level and the replays of other Australian winners is almost sickening. I stayed up till 5:15am to watch Australia v Greece basketball this morning, only to see probbly less than 3/4 of the actual game. They cut a full 6minutes out of the 3rd quarter so they could play fkn swimming highlights from maybe 2 hrs ago.

SBS is a publicly funded station which buys up some of the events that 7 decides not to show. They are heaps better in terms of ads.

But Australia is possibly the most sport fanatical nation on Earth, so everyone loves watching Ian Thorpe kick *** in the pool. I dont especially care about track or pool events, i'm not opposed to watching them, but i'm not tuning in especially.

Love every minute of basketball i can get, enjoy watching soccer despite it not being of the highest standard. But this gives our Australian soccer team (who come painfully close to making the World Cup every 4 years without success) a fighting chance so its all good :D

Other than that i'm pretty meh about most other events. But the basketball is great to fill in the overlap between the NBA and NBL seasons. Totally looking forward to the Australia v USA matchup on Thursday, based upon our coach's hopeless efforts vs Greece i'll be interested to see how he tries to exploit your lack of shooters.

08-16-2004, 02:33 PM
Anyone watch Handball before.

I was just watching it on MSNBC for about 15 and I had no idea what it was until they finally said what it was.

Seemed like soccer basketball. There is a goalie, a goal like soccer, but it is played on a court somewhat like basketball, you use your hands, you dribble, it is very physical, I have no idea of the rules, but it is exciting to watch.

Anyone know anything about this sport, is it new, if you get a chance watch it for a few minutes. It is on MSNBC right now.

One other question. Do you like beach volleyball or regular volleyball more. I hate beach volleyball, so I like regular volleyball better.

08-16-2004, 02:37 PM
Even not liking the pool events you have to admit that the 200 freestyle with Thorpe, Van den Hogenbon (sp?) and Phelps, was pretty nice.

Vicious Tyrant
08-16-2004, 03:51 PM
UB, I'll vote with you on the volleyball question. Beach volleyball is, I'm sure, a lot of fun to play, but seems completely pointless as a spectator sport - except for the lovely female physiques. I sometimes think that's really the point of its existence as an Olympic sport - it must be a decent moneymaker for the Olympics, just due to the T&A factor.

Hey skyfire, is Andrew Gaze still kicking around the Australian bball team?

08-16-2004, 03:52 PM
Having been involved with 3 Olympic teams I am always interested. I primarily watch track and field, basketball and volleyball. And for you UB, indoor volleyball.

08-16-2004, 03:54 PM
During the Olympics I follow sports I'd never dream of watching.

Last night I was watching the news and didn't turn it off right away. Instead of Jay Leno's monologue we had Water Polo.

Watched it - and turned it off as soon as it was over. Don't know what would have followed but I'm sure I would have stayed up and watched it too.

08-16-2004, 04:08 PM
Are you watching the Olympics at all, and if you are how much. Do you just watch certain sports or do you sit down in front of the TV and watch for hours on end no matter what sport is being shown.

- eternal channel surfer, if there is nothing on the olympics are a nice stopgap

Are you only a basketball and football guy.

- no, baseball, basketball, football and with some appreciation of t&f

08-17-2004, 04:08 AM
Hey skyfire, is Andrew Gaze still kicking around the Australian bball team?

Nah, he decided to sit out this Olympics, he just turned 39. He is still playing in the NBL though..

Slick Pinkham
08-17-2004, 08:05 AM
I'm in Copenhagen Denmark at a business meeting.

Here they are showing the sports that the Danes are OK at: handball, badmitton (lots of that!), and they do show some gymnastics.

Hard to keep up on the US side of things except going to espn.com and getting updates on the TV from CNN international.

But there are other things to do here besides watch TV or post here, so...

off I go.

Vicious Tyrant
08-17-2004, 11:02 AM
Hey ABA, I'm sorry I missed your comment earlier, but what was the nature of your involvement with the Olympics?

08-17-2004, 01:16 PM
As far as beach volleyball versus regular, i like them both. I think they bring different elements from each other and are equally cool to watch.

08-17-2004, 01:28 PM
I thought the team men's Gymnastics last night were very entertaining. I even knew beforehand who got the gold and who got the silver but still enjoyed it a lot.

For whatever reason I like Men's Gymnastics better than the womens. The girls seem like they are about 15 years old, and are phsycially incable of doing the power and strength things the men cao do. I can't help but think that the girls should be eating something and having fun at high school. It is difficult for me to watch it.

08-18-2004, 12:49 AM
Ratings are up from 2000. You won't hear much about this, but if the ratings were down you would hear a ton about that and about how "no one watches the Olympics anymore"

Swimmers, gymnasts lift NBC's early ratings
Boosted by strong results from U.S. gymnasts and swimmers, NBC's ratings for the Athens Olympics' first four days have topped the disappointing viewership levels of the 2000 Sydney Games.
The 16.6 national rating (percent of the USA's TV homes) for Monday's prime-time show was the highest of these Games and 20% above the comparable night for Sydney. It moved NBC to a four-day average prime-time rating of 14.7, 2% ahead of the Sydney Games after four days. (Related item: NBC upbeat)

"The story of the Olympics has always been that if the athletes are compelling and exciting, you'll have a big success," NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol said Tuesday. "When our gymnasts struck out in Sydney, we were hurt by it. I'm very happy this will be the most-watched non-U.S. Olympics ever."

The four-day average for Athens also was higher than the 14.5 rating NBC had guaranteed most advertisers, eliminating an early move to provide make-good ads, as occurred in Sydney.

Steve Sternberg, director of audience analysis for Magna Global ad agency, who had predicted a 12.5 to 13.0 average prime-time rating for Athens, said Tuesday, "I think it's going to be higher because the story lines are very good. The U.S. men's gymnasts won the first medal in 20 years, and the U.S. women's gymnastics team (which won a silver medal Tuesday) will also give them a boost."

Considering the increased number of viewing choices compared to four years ago, Initiative ad agency executive vice president Tim Spengler said, "We're pleasantly surprised that with more Olympics (cable) channels than in Sydney, the mother ship is holding its own." Initiative has Home Depot and Samsung as Athens sponsors.

Other ratings factors:

The move to six Olympic cable networks, compared with two in Sydney, appears to have helped NBC's prime-time audiences.

"It's increasing interest in viewing the Games rather than diminishing interest," TV consultant Mike Trager said.

Pushing people who have been watching Olympic events on cable to NBC's prime-time show "was all well thought out," Ebersol said.

The time difference between Athens and the USA is not as dramatic as the one between Sydney and the USA.

"Historically, European Olympics have rated higher than Asian ones," TV consultant Neal Pilson said. "And the fact they are in August instead of September (as with Sydney) means they have no competition from NFL and college football."

NBC has sped the show's pace by cutting back on features and expanding action.

"The broadcasts seem to have more intensity than four years ago," Pilson said

NBC optimistic after four nights of Athens Olympics
NEW YORK (AP) Gyms worldwide were dark in anticipation of the Olympic gymnastics competition, NBC's Al Trautwig said this week in a dramatic introduction then the cameras pulled back to reveal row after row of empty seats in Athens.
Hype gone out of control? An embarrassment for NBC?


In the only arena that matters to NBC living rooms across the United States that Sunday night of gymnastics was a hit. It reversed an ominous trend; the first two nights in Athens, prime-time ratings were below the levels of Sydney in 2000.

Monday night was even better. The Michael Phelps-Ian Thorpe swimming showdown and men's gymnastics final drew 26.9 million viewers, nearly 6 million above the comparable day in Sydney, according to Nielsen Media Research.

"We're running well ahead of our internal estimates and well ahead of Sydney," NBC Universal chairman Bob Wright said Tuesday. "This makes this particular Olympics the most highly viewed outside the U.S. of all time."

More importantly, he said, "I don't know of any advertiser with whom we have an agreement on audience where we are running behind."

NBC has sold an estimated $1 billion in ads for the Athens Games and expects to make about $50 million in profits. If the network doesn't meet the ratings targets given to advertisers, sponsors are due givebacks and it cuts into those profits.

Although Sydney was characterized as a disappointment, it would be a major accomplishment for NBC to top its ratings four years later, said Steve Sternberg, analyst for the ad-buying firm Magna Global. He said the results are even more impressive because the average home has more options today 100 channels compared to 60 four years ago.

"I think NBC should be pretty happy right now," he said. "Call me in a couple of days. It might be a different story."

NBC's grand experiment this August is to flood its affiliated channels CNBC, MSNBC, USA, Bravo and Telemundo with Olympic programming. They're showing 1,210 hours of coverage on the six networks altogether.

Over the weekend, an estimated 23 million people checked out at least some of the games on cable. NBC was concerned the cable coverage might cut into NBC's prime-time viewership, Wright said, and so far it has had little impact.

Critically speaking, the broadcast and cable Olympics seem to exist in parallel universes.

NBC gears much of its prime-time to sports that women can enjoy track and field, water sports and every last tumble that a gymnast makes. Boxing takes up three hours each evening on cable; you won't see a single punch on the network.

The approach was infuriating in past years when fans of sports dubbed not ready for prime-time had no alternative. Now, they do. The only thing missing is the sense of random discovery; you have to seek out the oddball sports out they won't find you.

Seeing a volleyball match unfold in front of you instead of in a five-minute package of highlights is fun, although NBC is still prone to some abrupt cuts on events that aren't carried live.

With at least a seven-hour time difference, none of prime-time is live, so NBC has held back showing some of its big events. So far, the network hasn't unnecessarily teased viewers. American swimmer Michael Phelps' two biggest races were shown an hour into five-hour broadcasts, instead of being held until late.

In the early days, the swimming broadcast team of Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines has been NBC's most impressive, offering the right combination of enthusiasm and information.

"He just took off the headphones," Hicks said as Phelps approached the pool before Monday's race. "We understand the rapper of choice for these games is Eminem."

Trautwig's gymnastics team, by contrast, has fell off the beam a few times. The competitions, even relatively meaningless early ones, were over-hyped and made Trautwig sound like a bad actor in mawkish production pieces.

NBC has otherwise made its production pieces less sappy, and more integrated with the competition. A particular winner was Monday's profile of American swimmer Natalie Coughlin shown before she won the gold in the backstroke.

Perhaps because of the additional hours, the Olympic telecasts have been less America-centric than in the past. That may be good planning or good reaction, since American athletes have generally gotten off to a slow start in Athens.

08-18-2004, 08:44 AM
Hey ABA, I'm sorry I missed your comment earlier, but what was the nature of your involvement with the Olympics?

I was on the staging staff for 3 teams. Primarily making sure everything is in order prior to them leaving for the Olympic venues. A lot of paperwork stuff. Passports, visas - things like that. Temp job with ABC sports as a researcher for the 1984 LA Games working at the international broadcast center. Tough job - trust me.

08-18-2004, 10:02 AM
I loved the Olympics!! I have been watching as much as I can as well. It is sooo exciting and fun to watch different sports that usually don't get much attention. I think a lot of the interest has died down becuase of the end of the cold war. The Olympics where really one of the few visable battlefields for the cold war. I think it is the same rason why no one even cares when a rocket goes out to outer space. We live in the world after the cold war...