NBC Decided To Delay The Olympics Opening Ceremony Because Of Women

Olympics Opening Ceremony
Getty Image

The 2016 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony in Rio de Janeiro was full of color, dancing, supermodels going HAM to Brazilian music, oiled-up flag bearers and climate change warnings but if you watched it on NBC, like most people, you were probably left a bit disappointed.

This year, like every Olympic year, the network chose to air arguably the biggest event of the games on an hour delay. While everyone down in Brazil was watching the Olympic torch lighting and salsa dancing, folks at home in the States were waiting for the show to begin — the ceremony kicked off in Brazil at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time but didn’t air on TV until 7:30 in the U.S.

Last month, the men in suits over at NBC gave plenty of excuses for the delay. You might guess, from the sheer number of commercials the network was able to cram into Friday night’s broadcast, that the main reason for airing the ceremony an hour later was advertising. But you’d be wrong.

According to NBC’s chief marketing officer, John Miller, the reason for the delay rests solely on the shoulders of womenkind:

The people who watch the Olympics are not particularly sports fans. More women watch the games than men, and for the women, they’re less interested in the result and more interested in the journey. It’s sort of like the ultimate reality show and miniseries wrapped into one.

Basically, Miller says the reason for the delay was so that NBC could add context to the games. (By context we assume their referring to Meredith Vieira’s geography lessons and Hoda Kotb’s fangirling over country uniforms and samba dance routines.) Because everyone knows women hate sports so to make sports more interesting, we must treat the Olympics, the greatest athletic competition in the world, like some sort of reality show. That’s the only way tiny female brains will understand what’s going on.

Some feel this reasoning is flawed. Plenty of non-sports fans — both men and women — watch the Olympics every year and most are not tuning in to hear Matt Lauer and the rest of the Today Show team drone on about, well, whatever it is they’re paid to talk about. Hyping up the Games and focusing on the inspiring back stories of some Olympic athletes is an added bonus but it’s not the main event. Viewers watch the Olympics to see history being made, not to listen to announcers narrate.

The fact that NBC still can’t pull off a live, televised Opening Ceremony probably says more about the network’s abilities than it does women’s capacity to understand and enjoy sporting events on TV. Let’s try pointing the finger at the people who really deserve the blame.

(Via Quartz)