NBC Sports Boss: Should NBC Have Used MORE Tape Delay on Olympics? Exec Thinks It May Have Been a Mistake to Go Live With One High-Profile Event in Particular

Aug 15, 2012  •  Post A Comment

NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus said he has been contemplating whether NBC should have tape-delayed more Olympic events, citing the men’s tennis final between Andy Murray and Roger Federer, which was aired live.

“It’s undeniable we hurt our ratings by doing that,” Lazarus tells Bloomberg. “We have to balance what we’re trying to do for viewers across the country and our business model.”

As discussed in a TVWeek Open Mic blogger entry, some viewers vented their anger at the network’s use of tape delay, using the Twitter hashtag #NBCfail to express their feelings about the practice.

Despite the outcry over the tape delay, the London Olympics surpassed the 2008 Beijing Games to become the most-watched television event ever.

Because more people tuned in than expected, ad sales beat internal projections by as much as 20% and NBC may turn a profit on the Olympics, Lazarus said, according to the story. An NBC spokesman said the network won’t know whether the Games were profitable for several weeks, the piece adds.


  1. I was pretty disappointed to have missed the women’s tennis finals that Saturday. After a few hours of not seeing anything resembling plans/a scheduled time to replay it at some point, I switched off and never went back. THAT was a big mistake on NBC’s part from where I sit.

  2. And no men’s basketball in prime time? That was an odd choice, too… Especially when the Gold Medal game against Spain was so close and so thrilling…

  3. Well, during weekdays, live TV doesn’t mean a whole lot to folks sitting a desk or elsewhere working an average job. As for evening time, 6pm in the eastern US is almost midnight in London, so live coverage in this case isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
    As for the men’s gold medal basketball match, if they had shown that in prime time (tape delay) on Sunday, when do you suppose they would have aired the closing ceremonies? Or…at least the part of the closing ceremonies they actually aired? 😉

  4. If the gold medal game had been a blow-out would anyone have watched? And what would have been the feedback if the game was held for the evening and then it was heavily edited because it was a blow-out. There is no way to make everyone happy. But having the events available live online and on partner channels worked out well this year. The one thing that could have been improved was information about times and channels for tennis. But that is a small quibble.

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