NBC's Olympics Coverage Falters (Again)

NBC's Olympics Coverage is Bad (Again)

July 27, 2021

If you've been watching the Olympics in the US, or at least trying to, anyway, you may have noticed something a bit frustrating. NBC has the rights to the Olympics again, and yet again, its broadcasts are anything but convoluted. The technology available to show live streams of any event is there, yet NBC still makes accessing the events difficult. The big ask: Why? 

Streamer's Spotlight: NBC's Antiquated Olympics Coverage

There's something to be said about the competitive competition. It helps drive innovation and leads to a much better product for the consumer. Yet sports coverage, and especially the every-four-years Summer Olympics, continues to lack competition. Instead, the rights have gone to NBC since the 1980s, and not because the company is a better fit for broadcasting th event. It's mainly about the money.

1. NBC's Coverage Continues to Be Disliked

If there's one thing that seems to remain true every time the Olympics comes up, it's how much Americans hate NBC's coverage of the events. In a 2016 article published during the previous Summer Olympics, Vox wrote "NBC's coverage of the Olympics is atrocious. There's a simple reason why." Their reason? "The network views the games as entertainment, not as sports."

This makes sense. A network focused on sports is going to spend far more time broadcasting every second of the live events it's contracted to cover. There may be commercial breaks or random commentary, but a sports-centric approach does not emphasize this over broadcasting live events.

Instead, Americans continue to experience a network that would rather play dramatic background stories on athletes, even as live events are taking place.

2. Failure to Leverage Technology

NBC's peacock service held and continues to hold a lot of promise. Positively, it brought Olympics coverage to Peacock, but to such a limited degree as to be exceptionally embarrassing. While making customers pay to access any Olympics coverage at all through Peacock, there are no live feeds of every event. Instead, users can only watch replays of most events, and not even of all events. Only the ones NBC deems the most popular.

Live coverage of any type of event is available through the company's official Olympics website, but only for those with a traditional cable TV or vMVPD subscription (such as Hulu + Live TV or YouTube TV). Functionally, there's no real reason for this. NBC could have charged more and run all of this content through Peacock. Instead, it makes access far more complicated than necessary.

3. No Competition

NBC has no competition for the Olympics, and it can almost guarantee that it's going to get viewers and advertisers as the Olympics remains incredibly popular. But broadcast rights are sold by the International Olympics Committee. Although the IOC gets billions of dollars for those rights, it may want to listen to the fans and even journalists and find a better quality broadcaster for US fans.


: "Everyone Agrees: NBC's Olympics Coverage Sucks."

This Week's Streaming Guide

1. Netflix Crime Series 'Snitch Cartel' Now Streaming

"Two brothers in Cali juggle family duties, multiple romances and illegal businesses". Stream on Netflix on Wednesday (July 28). -

2. The Rock's 'Jungle Cruise' Streaming on Disney+

Dwayne Johnson joins Emily Blunt in a search for a magic tree. Stream on Disney+ this Friday (July 30). -

3. 'Gold Rush: Winter's Fortune Streaming this Week

Watch some of your favorite Gold Rush stars like Tony Beets as they search for gold during the harsh winter off-season. -

4. 'Heartbreak Island' Premieres Discovery+

"A group of young, single men and women put everything on the line as they seek the perfect match and the chance to win $100,000." Streaming on Discovery+ this Saturday (July 31). -

News and Industry Developments

1. Disney+ Greenlights Marriage Murder Mystery

Proving its new Star section is definitely not for kids, Disney has greenlit a murder mystery called 'Wedding Season'. -

2. Everything Coming to and Leaving Netflix in August

Get your streaming schedule ready. -

3. Here's What's Coming and Leaving Hulu in August

Exciting new shows and films are on the way and some things you may miss out on. -

4. Watching the Olympics Has Doubled in Price for Cord-Cutters

Sports coverage changes show how pricey live TV is becoming for fans. -

Join the conversation

or to participate.