NBC Doesn’t want your feedback.

After writing about NBC’s distinct lack of caring they hold for people who want to watch a live broadcast of tomorrow’s Opening Ceremonies, I’ve gotten a few hits from folks looking for the fact that it isn’t live, along with one person who works for NBC-Universal searching for "nbc delay olympic opening".

So, this morning I decided that I’d go and have a look to see if I could find a way to contact them – either a web form or an email address, and lo and behold, I did find it here – Contact NBC.

Listed in there is an address specifically for questions regarding the Olympics – nbcolympicsfeedback#nbcuni.com, so I sent them (and the main NBC Sports email) a letter, basically reminding them that they’re about the only people who can’t be bothered to show the ceremony live, and told them that you know, if you air it twice, you can increase ad revenue…

I hit send, and half expect a form letter saying "Blah, Blah, We really don’t care what you said, but we will say we did because our extensive market research shows that people who receive form letters are more apt to be satiated than people who don’t. Et cetera."

What I received was not that – it was a message stating that my message did not reach the nbcolympicsfeedback email address. Why, you ask?

Well, according to NBC-Universal, the recipient name is not recognized.

The only thing that this says to me is that NBC claim that this box is there, but then you try to contact them you’re told that it isn’t there. The only conclusion I can logically reach is that NBC doesn’t care what its viewers think about their Olympic programming.

What do you think?

Do you think it’s right that NBC has chosen again to delay the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games, as they have done with all Olympics they’ve covered overseas? Consider the fact that the Today show is broadcasting live from China tomorrow, at the same time as the opening ceremony goes on, probably just behind their backs.

By the way, if you like what I’ve written, on either this post or the first post about NBC, there are links for you to submit the posts to different sites like StumbleUpon. 😉

NBC: Not Broadcasting Concurrently with the world

Everybody knows that the Olympics start officially on Friday with the opening ceremony going off on 8/8/08 at 8:00PM Chinese Time (GMT+8) or 7:00AM Central Daylight Time (GMT-5), or at the time that the Today show starts on NBC most days in the Central time zone (for those who may not know it, NBC and all the other networks air their morning shows on a schedule of 7-9AM no matter where you watch it, so viewers in my area are actually watching a show that is an hour old-by the way, for Aussie insomniacs or shift-workers who see these shows on 9 or 10 at 4am or whenever, take a note of the upper left – it usually will say Live EDT or Live PDT there-that’s the sign that it’s been shifted).

Now, most rational people would assume that this would mean that the Today Show, for one day out of, oh, however many thousands of days, would be pre-empted for a live, nationwide broadcast of the Olympics starting at 6AM, an hour before the ceremony started, right? I mean, it’s not unprecedented as people in Australia, Canada, Mexico, and a lot of other countries are going to do the same thing. Heck, here in the States, the AC Nielsen company counts repeat viewership as part of ratings now, so they’d make even more of a killing by playing it live and then replaying it at night (like CBC is doing).

However, Dick Ebersol, along with the NBC programming department have decided that it is far superior to ignore the time of the actual event and air it whenever they feel like it. In this case, 6:30PM CDT has been declared as the time that the Olympics shall start on NBC, three hours later if you’re on the West Coast, a delay of 11½-14½ hours. Thankfully NBC can rest safe in the knowledge that people don’t have access to things where they can, oh, watch the opening ceremony live via legal and, ahem, other methods. 😉

Oh wait. There’s this Internet thing. How many people do you think will forego having to listen to whoever NBC have chosen to host the ceremony blabbing over the whole thing (though without Katie Couric it shouldn’t be so bad this time, but Mary Carillo is just as annoying), and find their way to a foreign-sourced broadcast of the ceremony, and have access to it before it even starts broadcasting here? Oh, the irony that the one thing that they love to bandy about to people who want to show old footage of old TV shows – Piracy – is only solution to a problem that they’ve created by ignoring the fact that an Olympic opening ceremony is designed to be an event shared by the world as one.

Remember that the next time you see a clip on YouTube removed "Due to a claim of Copyright by NBC-Universal", will you? 🙂

Oh, and one last thing, here’s a couple of lists comparing who is showing the ceremony live and who isn’t. It must be lonely at the top of Rockefeller Plaza… 😉

Nations airing the Opening Ceremony live

  • Australia (something I personally confirmed by calling 1800 777 777 and speaking to Matt on Saturday Afternoon)
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • Spain
  • Canada
  • México
  • Chile
  • Brazil
  • Portugal
  • Colombia
  • Venezuela
  • Perú
  • Argentina
  • All of Europe (Eurosport)
  • China
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Russia
  • South Africa
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • United Arab Emirates

Nations NOT airing the Opening Ceremony live

  • United States of America

So much for caring about the viewer – I guess they need to make the money somehow to pay for the billions of dollars they have to pay the IOC…but of course, air the ceremony twice, you can instantly double the advertising revenue. 😉

Brett, I’m sick of you, but hey if you want to compete…

I know the chances of Brett Favre reading this site are slim to none, and I think slim left a long time ago, but I am really sick of his attitude of thinking he has some kind of God-given right to be brought back into the Packers.

He said in March that he was retiring, but I guess he thinks he has the right to change his mind whenever he feels fit. Granted, he’s not the first person to recant his retirement–Reggie White also came out of retirement to play a couple of more years, but his return to football wasn’t anywhere near as controversial as Brett’s is, or isn’t, depending on if he bothers to try to get reinstated.

What’s more frustrating about this is that he’s basically accusing the Packers, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy of being completely against him. I guess he forgot how they came to him in the early part of the year, said that they wanted him back and that they’d like a decision before the draft so that they could know where they were heading for the 2008 season.

So, we get to the emotional scene where Brett sits at the podium, sheds a few tears and says that he doesn’t have the heart to be in football anymore. We think that this is the end of Brett, but that didn’t last too long, now, did it?

If you ask me, I think that if Brett is serious about getting back into football, then he ought to come to training camp, try out for the team, and if he’s good enough (not like that’s not going to happen), sign up for this year. However, he seems to think that he’s earnt the right to act like some kind of spoilt brat–or celebrity–and be a complete jerk when it comes to returning.

I wonder what he thinks about the situation since, out of all the people who have commented on it, he’s the only one that hasn’t. You’ve heard from his brother (a media favourite in Milwaukee), his agent, his mother, I think his wife got in on it, and of course you’ve heard from Brett’s longtime friend from the Biloxi newspaper. Now, we have heard from Brett on Fox News (which is kind of like Ben Bernanke going on ESPN to be interviewed by Chris Berman about fiscal policy), but did that reveal anything? No, because it was a friendly reporter, and not someone who would ask him hard questions.

Heck, it’s nearly 3 weeks after I started this post, and the situation is still not resolved. Now, there’s talk of a buyout option going to him ($20 million spread out over 20 years or something like that, and staying in the "extended marketing plan" of the team), but ESPN reports that he’s not interested and wants to play football. Another thing that happened is that after weeks of faffing on his part, he finally filed his reinstatement papers…only to have the commissioner (wisely if you ask me) wait to see if something can be done before approving the request.

Whose side am I on?

To be honest, I’m on the side of the team here – they approached Favre about coming back this year, they wanted him, but in March, he didn’t want to. Now, two weeks before training camp started, he wants back in and suddenly he thinks we should fawn over him because he’s the prodigal son. To paraphrase a version of this story that was put out as a hypothetical – say that a supplier of a product, chicken, say, wanted to stop working, so you tell them fine, but then two weeks before your biggest event starts, and you’ve set up contracts for beef and/or pork, your chicken man comes back and says he wants to supply again. What do you do? Break your contracts for the current year and go back to your old guy.

So, now, it’s Sunday, and yet another day has passed and the news is that he’s going to be reinstated (tomorrow since NFL offices are closed on Sunday–you’d think that a sport whose livelihood depends on Sunday action would have someone there on Sunday) and will show up at Training camp, landing with the family in tow in just over an hour at 5.30PM, two hours before a public scrimmage starts at Lambeau Field. Initial reports were that he was going to just show up there and go to the scrimmage and stand on the sidelines.

You know what, at this point the story is that he’s going to compete for the starting job – if he decides that he still wants to play and gets the job, you know what, fair enough, we’ll still back him, but to be honest, he’s been a complete prick throughout this whole situation – a result of (as someone said on 540 ESPN today) all the people that take money from him influencing him. Oh well, let’s see how he does, hey? 😉

NASCAR in the rain – More, please!

I’ve been a racing fan for as long as I can remember – from watching the races that were only shown on free-to-air TV in the early 90s to watching the full NASCAR schedule in the mid-to-late 90s. One of my favourite moments ever in a race came in the 1996 when Max Papis came literally flying down pit lane at well over 200 mph (320ish km/h) to get a late splash-and-dash in his Ferrari 330SP.

Anyway, there’s a point to this – for such a long time, NASCAR has had a plan in place for rain at a road course race (the plan for ovals is still stop the race, as it’s completely unsafe to run even treaded tyres at an oval) – it’s only been used twice – first at Suzuka in 1997, I think, and then at a practice session at Watkins Glen somewhere around 2000 or so. Finally, their plans had come to fruition – there would be a wet stock car race in the US North America, at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Wikipedia link here) in Montréal in the Napa Piecès D’Auto 200.

Sure, you’ve seen open wheel racing in the rain, even prototype racing in the rain – heck, quite a fair chunk of this year’s 24 Heures du Mans was run in the rain, with all the closed-body cars with rain tyres and wipers and (most importantly, if you ask me) headlights. Of course, there’s also the V8 Supercars who put on a spectacular show in the rain – the races at Sandown were excellent, with cars going off of the road left, right and centre, and action all around the track. But there’s something about the first time that you see the racing you hold dear being held in the rain – the first time ever that it’s happened in one of the premiere divisions – that makes it all that more special.

The thing that is special about the rain is that it really sorts out the men from the boys (or, if you will, the true racers from the oval jockeys 😉 ). The best example is the fella who has the most experience driving a car like this in the conditions like this – Launceston’s own Marcos Ambrose, a name I had first heard while watching the 2005 Bathurst 1000, and Leigh Diffey (now back here in the States in case any of y’all were wondering where he is during the winter, because I think he goes back down for some events) telling the Channel Ten (and other international viewers) that he was headed off to the States to race. For 2006, I actually followed the truck series somewhat simply because there was an Aussie in there. Also, as a result of his exploits, this has led to NASCAR being put onto free-to-air TV (albeit a small viewership since it’s on Ten HD) and taken off of cable – even though we have to have cable to watch the Busch Nationwide Series races for most of the year.

From the time the race went green after the 3 6 9 15 20-minute-or-so break to prep the cars for wet racing (install a windshield wiper, change car setup, fit full wet tyres, turn on the light in the rear window (akin to the rain light the F1 cars have), and in some cases give the driver a squeegee), Marcos was off like a tear – he passed Scott Pruett by time the cars had made it to the first chicane, and pulled to a relatively huge lead of 10 seconds over the field; even after the first pitstop, and even after he went off of the road, he still held off Jacques Villeneuve (yes, the same one who won the 1997 F1 championship and the 1995 Indy 500 – not his uncle) and regained his lead.

The only thing that stopped him was having to stop once more to refuel to get to the end of the race, which didn’t quite go right when he was nabbed by the speed gun as going over the speed limit of 30mph (~48km/h – or 8 klicks faster than the V8s are limited to on their pit lane and about 30 km/h less than the F1 speed limit). Even then, and even after having to go through the pits again, he was in 3rd place…50 seconds behind Ron Fellows, who didn’t need to stop again. Then, the rains started getting heavier and drivers couldn’t see anything anymore, so the caution was brought out – Villeneuve and Joey Logano (Moving UP! as Rick Allen says in the commercial) both wound up wrecking under the caution – Villeneuve hitting the rear end of another car and Logano stuffing the car into the barrier (I think) on the Droit du Casino, or the back straight.

Soon after that, they made the decision to end the race, conveniently as ESPN were interviewing Carl Edwards, whose interview went something like this "…I’ve got a…oh, they’ve ended it…it was a good race, and I had a good car" – and Ron Fellows was declared the winner.

All in all, NASCAR’s first adventure in the rain went extremely well – until the end of the race, there were very few spins, but a few offs, which is expected during a road course race anyways. If it rains at Watkins Glen next week, I think it’s safe to say that I’m not the only person looking forward to seeing them race in the rain again. 😉

Some Baseball Randomness

I’ve been doing a bit of waxing nostaligic by watching some old 8mm video tapes. Well, they’re not old, but they are from the past – 2000 to 2003 to be specific – the time I was leaving high school and going to college (in fact, some of the videos are from we were driving back from school after orientation and after my freshman year). The videos were interesting, and in one, there was talk about the Brewers.

At that time, we were still in the dregs of the seemingly never-ending streak of losing seasons (which technically ended 3 years ago with a .500 season, and was definitely done last year, with a second-place finish in the division), with the little-known Jerry Royster as the manager at the time, and with the Commissioner of baseball, Allen H. (Bud) Selig (owner of a car dealership on the side), still in charge of the club. For some reason (likely the static we were getting from the electric wires on the side of the road), we decided to flip away from the baseball to listen to music.

Now? We’d likely have stuck around and listened to the game, as it’s always fun to listen to baseball on the radio. 😉

Anyway, this season is off to a good start for the Crew, with two wins from the first series against the Cubs, and opening day set to go off tomorrow (I’d tried getting tickets to the game and a pre-game party from a radio station, but I kept getting busy signals, so I’ve chosen to volunteer as an alternative 🙂 )

As far as a prediction, I think the Brewers will get into the playoffs this year, and are likely candidates for winning the Central division this year. However, if you are to believe reports, this is likely to be Ben Sheets’ last year with the team. He took the US to gold in Sydney; can he do the same for the Brewers this year?

So, continuing on the theme of baseball, here are a couple of videos (one of which is actually from wrestling, but it’s hilarious) to honor the beginning of the season. A word of warning to Aussies, the video featuring Harry Caray uses the word root in the sporting sense. Y’know, just so you know. 😉

The first video is of Bob Uecker at WrestleMania 4, trying to find Vanna White, but finding someone else…

This second video is a montage of Harry Caray singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, as was his custom (continued now by the Cubs with different celebrites every day). One thing to note is the “Real Jimmy Piersall Fan Club”. What happened to regular characters in this world? 🙂 Hit it, Nancy!