Seattle Screwed by NBC, Canada Over Olympics Coverage

vancouver-olympics-hockeyThis February, the 2010 Winter Olympics kick off in Vancouver, British Columbia, which is – aside from the inevitable border delays – a two-hour drive from Seattle, Washington. Which is where I live. For years, us Seattleites (and Washingtonians in general) have had our options when watching the Olympics: the bloated NBC coverage, which wastes precious time they could be using to show sports by giving us personal stories of redemption and talking head interviews, or the non-stop, more worldly coverage by CBC, a Canadian station.

With the Olympics happening just a few hours away, it was assumed by most that we’d get to watch the Olympics in all their glory on CBC, just as has been happening for over a decade.

Unfortunately, as The Seattle Times reported, Seattle, Washington State and most of the United States will not get to watch the Olympics in real-time on CBC, as the station was outbid by Canada’s CTV. We don’t get CTV via Comcast. And apparently it isn’t available by satellite, either.

This sucks. CBC has always provided coverage far and beyond what NBC has been able to provide. Comcast has said they are not going to attempt to get CTV coverage for the Vancouver Olympics. Fair enough. But, what really irks me is…

NBC is once again using time-delayed footage for the East Coast. Which means the West Coast – which is where Vancouver is, by the way – will get even more time-delayed footage. ARE. YOU. F**KING. KIDDING. ME.

It’s one thing if the time delay is due to the fact that the best sporting events are taking place in the middle of the night, but that’s not the case: every Olympic event is occurring during the North American day, on the West Coast. You don’t delay stuff like that.

Would NBC consider time-delaying a football game? A baseball game? A basketball game? No! So why on earth do they feel it is acceptable to air sports – sports that are taking place in North America – on a time delay? It’s absurd, and inexcusable.

I can’t blame the business decision to go with CTV or CBC, though it is unfortunate given that CBC has provided such good coverage for so many years. And I can’t really blame Comcast for not carrying CTV, though it would be great if they at least attempted to set up a deal. But I can, will, and must blame NBC for once again providing time-delayed Olympics coverage. Thanks, NBC, for ruining my day.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Miscellaneous


  • Andy

    In November 2009, while traveling to Vancouver, Canada to speak at the Vancouver Public Library at a benefit for community radio stations, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and her two colleagues were detained by Canadian authorities. Amy was questioned extensively about the speech she intended to give; their car was gone through by armed border guards, and their papers and laptop computers were scoured. The armed interrogators were particularly interested in whether she would be speaking about the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

    Why is the Canadian government so scared of American journalists?

  • Craig

    It’s not the time-delay. It’s that they actually EDIT the footage before it airs in the US. They cut about 20-40% of the footage of stuff that happens in between. Sometimes the cut out all the other heats only to show the performances of the top three finalists when they should show them all. Oh wait, that would use up too much time for a three hour squeeze into primetime.

  • K Paige

    Most of the time the Seattle papers and tv stations ignore the fact that there is even a country so close to the border and that there is metropolis of more than a million just a few hours away. Now, when it counts, that ignorance is biting you in the butt. Too bad. Canadians will enjoy the Olympics in real time and will enjoy the opening ceremonies in all forms, as it happens. It’s a shame that the arogance of Seattle is now breeding ignorance for a world class event.

  • leftcoastlarry

    Gee K Paige,
    Who pulled your chain?
    I am from Seattle. I know a lot of Canadians and they are very nice.
    What’s your problem? Abused as a child?

  • My thoughts exactly. What “arrogance of Seattle” is there exactly?

  • M

    Seattle hosed by NBC—double time delay, absolutely ridiculous. How the US West Coast has allowed this to happen is beyond me.

  • So, just got done watching the “live” Olympics ceremony… at 12:10am the next day. On the West Coast. I read about the torch glitch online long before it happened.

    NBC HD also lost sound approximately 40 times during the telecast, too.

  • I prefer CBC coverage. Shouldn’t Canada be annoyed that a US media conglomerate/monopoly won’t allow Canada to broadcast Olympics on its own soil to its neighbors?

    K Paige calm down. You have it a bit skewed: Not arrogance in Seattle, arrogance in New York.

  • duffer

    Lived in BC my entire life and this is the first I’ve heard of Seattle’s arrogance toward Canada.

  • FastRivers

    My wife and I live in Portland, OR and my wife’s parents live in Shenzhen, China. We have been very excited to watch the pair’s figure skating free style tonight (Monday). My wife’s parents got to watch it LIVE in SHENZHEN, CHINA!, told us the results, and we told them we can’t watch it for another 3 hours. Her father wants to know how such a great country as the US doesn’t allow people in the same timezone as the Olympics to watch an event as important as the Olympics live. He is basically laughing at us and invited us there to watch.

    By the way, we LOVE Vancouver BC. Always have had great experiences with the local Canadians up there. Great city and love having it relatively close to home.