Time Difference Ruining Olympic Viewing Experience


The excitement of watching live sports in real-time is the suspense. Anything can happen at any moment and those watching in real-time will all take in the events simultaneously as they happen.

Things are a little different for Americans viewing the Winter Olympics.

Sochi is nine hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, so the events of the Olympics are long over before the NBC primetime broadcast airs.

This gap of time creates a situation in which the events are already over and reported on before they air. Sure, the events can be viewed as they happen online, but they occur at odd hours of the day so it is often far more convenient to view them in primetime.

This results in events ending and the results being known before they can air on television.

A simple solution to the problem? Don’t go online or watch television until the primetime broadcast airs. However, that is simply not how people function in today’s world. They do not have a strong argument to complain about seeing the results early if they do in fact go online or watch television, but it is still frustrating for viewers.

Shaun White failed to win his third straight gold medal in men’s half pipe as he came in fourth, and this was known early in the afternoon on Tuesday. The event did not air on NBC until late Tuesday night, so instead of watching to see if he would win a medal, viewers tuned in to watch why he did not win. Not exactly a viewing filled with excitement.

There is nothing that can be done about the time difference in Sochi. It is just something that has to be dealt with when watching events that are in different parts of the world.

However, it seems that there is little need for American news outlets to publicize the results of events before they air on American television. (Yes, the events are all available live online, but the majority of people watching the Olympics will do so with televisions).

It is an issue with the age of instant information and the need to know what is happening the second it is happening.

So until people completely shut themselves out from all media during the day, which takes a special kind of self-discipline, spoilers will continue to exist and be discovered for any event that is airing on a tape delay.

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About The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project

The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project is a hub for teaching, research, and service related to sport media. The Project benefits students and faculty at Bowling Green State University, and offers outreach and media consulting to area and regional groups that work with student-athletes. Through collaborative efforts of the Sport Management program and the School of Media and Communication, BGSU students have the opportunity to learn such skills as sports writing, reporting, broadcasting, announcing, public relations, media relations, communication management and production. Faculty and other scholars have access to resources about the commercial and sociological aspects of sport.

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