I blogged about a month ago about NBC having 5,000+ hours on all its various channels and Web presences for Olympics coverage, but a big fat zero for Paralympics. Today I noticed a press release from the U.S. Olympic Committee celebrating a partnership with NBCUniversal and the International Paralympic Committee to bring more coverage than ever to U.S. viewers. Most of that will be via YouTube, but ... well, looky here, there will be actual TV coverage after all! A big 90 minutes on NBC on September 16, a week after the games are over, in the coveted prime-time slot of 2-3:30 p.m. EDT. Um, thanks?
To be fair, that's in addition to four one-hour highlight shows on NBCSN, a cable channel which is part of a pay-package of sports channels in my neck of the woods, at 7 p.m. EDT on September 4, 5, 6, and 11. So, that's something. Not much. But something. Clearly, though, although NBC is willing to throw the Paralympics a broadcast bone, these games are not considered ready for prime time.
I don't know. Personally, one of the highlights of NBC's Olympics coverage for me was the commercial about the woman whose military career ended when she lost her legs to a drunk driver, but who found new purpose on the Paralympic sitting volleyball team. The little bit of the game we saw made me want to see a lot more. As did Oscar Pistorius's couple of Olympic runs. Every time Bob Costas talked about Pistorius continuing his medal quest at the Paralympics, I yelled at the screen, "BUT WE WON'T SHOW IT TO YOU!" Why the heck not, I wonder? Anybody who can't make compelling TV out of the Paralympics shouldn't be in the TV-making business.
If you're outside the US and haven't located Paralympics coverage in your part of the world, this press release tells who has the broadcast rights in other countries. And for live online Paralympics coverage wherever you are, check the ParalympicSportTV channel on YouTube and Paralympics.org.
Photo by Terri Mauro