2014 Winter Olympics Failing To Build Fan Interest in America


The Winter Olympics are a global event that occur every four years and are much anticipated for athletes. It’s their chance to showcase their skills and talent and to show the dedication they’ve put toward their respective sport over the past four years.

It’s too bad not many people in America are watching them.

With the Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia, the events are not being broadcast live for the most part because of the time difference. There is nothing that can be done about that, but NBC, the network that airs the Olympics, waits until the evening time to show the events.

The fact that NBC generally waits to show the Olympics at a primetime hour instead of broadcasting them live hurts the ability to build fan interest here in America. Most, if not all sports fans, want to watch sports when they are live and not on tape delay.

According to a poll conducted by ESPN’s Darren Rovell, 74% of people say that knowing the results ahead of time greatly affects if they watch or not.

And it’s not like news sites try to keep the results hidden, either.

If you go on ESPN or even the New York Times’ websites, you will find some results of the games on their homepage.

Also, many avid fans like me are signed up for ESPN Alerts, which is a text messaging system that alerts you of important sports news during the day. I received results via text message for highly anticipated events such as the men’s and women’s snowboard halfpipe, which was frustrating because I was looking forward to watching them later that night. But since I already knew the results I didn’t care to watch.

With the events in the Olympics being more niche sports than mainstream sports, many Americans do not know much about them. Winter Olympic sports like snowboarding and skiing do not have much of a fan base in America, but have often been highly rated events on television in the past.
Knowing the results ahead of time hurts the chance to build a solid fan base for those sports. Networks and proponents of these sports want snowboarding and skiing to become more popular in the future, but if people are not watching them because the results have been spoiled, then the purpose is defeated.

Knowing the results ahead of time is a very frustrating thing for sports fans. Currently it is hard for a fan to go an entire day without seeing scores or results because modern technology like text messaging, social media and other websites dominate our lives to an extent.

I wish the news and media would keep quieter throughout the day rather than displaying the events results everywhere. If they were able to do that, then American viewership of the Olympics would be higher and it would help develop better fan interest for the sports in the Games and ultimately the future.

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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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