A record 40.7 million Americans watched NBC television’s coverage of the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, making it the most-watched Summer Games opening, NBC said on Saturday.
NBC Universal paid $1.18 billion for the US rights to the London Olympics. It is streaming all the sporting events live online and boosting its TV coverage of the 2012 games.
But Americans took to Twitter in droves on Friday when they realised that they had to wait up to seven hours to watch the London ceremony after NBC decided not to stream it live and to delay its broadcast until the prime time evening hours.
Contributions to Twitter surged on Sunday, with many posters complaining about the quality of NBC Universal’s online platform, which promised to show every sporting contest live for those unwilling to wait hours for the network’s main primetime coverage of the day’s events.
Others complained about the plethora of ads interrupting NBC’s coverage across multiple broadcast and cable outlets, and commentary by some of the NBC anchors.
Another decision that caused controversy in Britain was that NBC cut a musical tribute from the opening ceremony for the victims of the (July 2005) extremist attacks in London buses and trains. Instead the network showed a brief interview with Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps by “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest.
NBC top sports executives were in London and could not be reached for comment. But NBC Olympics producer Jim Bell took to Twitter to respond briefly to some of the gripes early on Sunday.
“Coverage on both internet and cable was a mix of tape and live events. Yesterday, nearly 40 hours of live Olympic sports was broadcast on television, by the way,” Bell tweeted.
Additionally, London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony raced into the British charts on Sunday with a collection of music from the kaleidoscopic extravaganza becoming the week’s fifth-best selling compilation album just after 24 hours on sale.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2012.