Today the US women’s national soccer team take on Canada in their semifinal game in the 2012 Olympics. And you can watch it…if you have access to the NBC Sports Network.
As of now, 80 million do. During the Olympics, about 1.9 million viewers tune in on an average day. The US women’s soccer game versus Colombia on Saturday afternoon pulled in 3.34 million at its peak. NBC had close to 16 million viewers at a comparable time.
What is on NBC today instead of women’s soccer? Cycling, Equestrian, and Men’s Volleyball. Of the three, equestrian makes the most sense as it is a medal event and the USA equestrian team won gold in it at the last two Olympics. Cyclying, though, is a preliminary round. And yes, the USA men’s volleyball team will be playing, but they will be playing their final group game against Tunisia, which has lost all four of its games and has won a single set out of the 13 it has played. It would not be a stretch to say that we already know how that one will end.
Therefore, I cannot understand why NBC has chosen to put women’s soccer on its premium cable network instead of its home channel. The USA is the two-time defending gold medalists in soccer and women’s soccer is, undoubtedly, one of the most popular women’s team sports in this country. I’m going to file this as another example of #NBCfail (this Twitter hasthag has been an ongoing trend since the opening ceremonies).
#NBCfail can be attached to many things. NBC did not allow anyone in the US to see the opening ceremony live in any format and then edited down the ceremony before airing it. Or when it ran a Today Show promo that told us Missy Franklin was a gold medal winner right before they aired her race in which she won said medal. Or when NBC colluded with Twitter to get one of their biggest complainers, Guy Adams, kicked off the social medium. Or when they aired a commercial of a monkey doing gymnastics immediately following Gabby Douglas winning gold in women’s all-around gymnastics final, she being the first woman of color to do so. The list goes on.
I’m sure NBC would counter that anyone with internet access can watch the game online (of course, there are stipulations for that, including having a cable or satellite subscription). But the live-streaming, despite record numbers, is a pain. I’ve had my own incredibly frustrating experience with it while trying to watch the women’s all-around gymnastics competition last week. I’m not alone in my frustration (and the “not-quite-live” aspect of the live-streaming has also annoyed people).
NBC seems immuned to the criticisms, though that has not dampened the critics.
Hopefully everyone will get to see the US women’s soccer team play for a gold medal on August 9. And hopefully NBC will choose to air that game on NBC.