NBC Primetime Olympic coverage sucks

NBC’s 2016 Olympics broadcast is the lowest-rated in years.

I’ll say it again. Serious Gymnastics fans should boycott NBC Primetime.

(The NBC live streaming coverage is pretty good, I hear. But I couldn’t watch it myself as I didn’t have a login. NBC was too fearful to offer something like a one time $35 online Olympics package.)

NBC’s TV coverage is the worst in the world

Starting on the wrong foot, NBC delayed the opening ceremony by one hour on the east coast of the U.S. and by four hours on the west coast of the U.S. The bizarre nature of the American delay caused mass confusion on social media, where the ceremony was being tweeted about in real time. …

It is 2016. Someone tell the Olympics.

Fake, Jingoistic, And Stupid: Gymnastics Coverage Is The Worst Part Of NBC’s Olympics

… The coverage is fragmented, with fans seeing a routine or two, then being bombarded with ads. This procedure is repeated two or three more times until NBC cuts away to another sport. …

Why NBC Needs to Do Better

I don’t blame the commentary. It’s the Network mucky mucks who need to be replaced.



• NBC criticised for ‘worst ever’ Olympic coverage in America

Published by

Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

21 thoughts on “NBC Primetime Olympic coverage sucks”

  1. Gymcastic did an interview with Tim Daggett a couple of years ago. I think we need to remember that the commentators aren’t the ones deciding who to show and when. I agree; I think that gymnastics was on at the worst time. And what was on was not fantastic. However, they are trying to appeal to the masses, aka not hardcore gym fans who religiously watch every meet in existence. They’re trying to make it appealing to everyday Americans who think that Simone Biles is some newly found talent. Most non-gym fans want to see American gymnasts performing well! They don’t care about seeing a routine from the Netherlands, however beautiful it may be. So I agree, the coverage is not great, but I think they have their reasons, however bad it may turn out.


    1. Gymnastics as presented in the Olympics is conducted in a series of competitions. So, NBC needs to show more non-US routines to provide the context of the competition. NBC failed to do that. Their coverage made the Olympics look like an American exhibition show. Therefore, I believe NBC sold the Olympics short.


  2. The event stream are the best as they cover all the apparatus routines. As well as without any of the annoying commentary and with only the overhead PA announcement, almost like watching live.

    Still annoying as they interrupt the stream every so often with an ads segment that you can’t skip over. Also limited to 30 min if you don’t have cable login. also the video segments pause several times due to the inefficient cache scheme.


  3. Yes, it was typically bad primetime coverage by NBC again. NBC just needs to get with the program because no one wants to wait for primetime and see heavily edited coverage, especially anyone under 30. NBC’s streaming coverage is pretty good, which is what I watched, but it was dependent on the international feed which left out some key routines. Supplement it with the taped primetime coverage and you get almost everything. Trautwig is hopefully done after this year, especially after his unforgivable gaffe saying Simone’s parents weren’t her REAL parents because she was adopted, compounded by his non-apology apology. Disgraceful.

    I wanted to watch BBC coverage but the VPN services I signed up for both failed and their technical people couldn’t figure out why, so I got refunds for both. Does anyone know if the BBC coverage is on YouTube yet or something similar?


    1. not sure if you watch the right stream. There is a overall coverage one by the commentators which does leave out a lot of routines.

      But if you go to the separate stream coverage of each apparatus, you don’t miss a single routine, because the camera stays on that apparatus the whole time.


      I was watching it on my TV connected to the PC. I have 4 Chrome browser windows opened with each one showing each of the 4 events with complete simultaneous coverage. It’s probably in some way even better than live. you can silent the sound on each and any of the 4 windows.

      The page for each day can be filtered by sports. For example for WAG, this page here shows the link for all 4 apparatus as well as the commentator composite stream:


      I suspect that there are so many people missing out on the fact that they can do this. It’s obvious that NBC didn’t emphasize this aspect, because no one would then care to watch their commentator stream.

      BBC stream has no option for this with only 1 stream with commentator.


        1. Yeah unfortunately so ;(. they should offer an Olympics one time package. I don’t know if they also geolocation restricted. But you might also need VPN. This year prime coverage is even worse than 2015 worlds coverage b/c they broke off the TF into two segments to shift over to swimming for like 1 hr before going back again. and then back to swimming. I watch swimming too but just real annoyed that both got interrupted.


    2. you need to access individual streams for each event:


      I have 4 browser windows opened at once on my big screen TV connected to a PC and was able to see all 4 apparatus all at once with every single routine shown.

      www(dot)nbcolympics(dot)com/live-stream-schedule/gymnastics?day=4 . This page shows the links for all the routine stream and the commentator stream which does not have all the routines.

      A lot of people missed out on this hidden gem. NBC obviously didn’t emphasize this b/c no one would ever watch their prime stream if they know they could do this.

      BBC only have the commentator stream and not each apparatus stream.


  4. I thought the streaming was wonderful. I don’t mind tape delays. But even the casual people I have talked to have said the coverage was terrible. My hairdresser today commented on missing seeing the men. Most people were most mad about how late it was on.


      1. I watched much of the live stream but your average viewer is not going to back and watch the best AA final I’ve ever seen in the archives.


  5. I watched gymnastics on NBCOlympics.com livestreams. I would have literally gone insane without the livestreams. The primetime coverage was absolutely terrible. Al Trautwig needs to be replaced IMMEDIATELY. The man knows nothing about gymnastics or how it is scored. After all these years, he still doesn’t understand how high D-scores will beat out beautifully executed, but lower D-score routines. Oleg beat Danell on P-bars because Oleg has a higher D-score, Al!!!

    The NBC primetime coverage was Simone, Aly, Simone, Aly, Simone … shot of Laurie and Madison clapping. It was an American lovefest that didn’t even provide any context for the US women’s dominance. And apparently NBC doesn’t want anyone to know that the US has male gymnasts.

    I can’t believe Tim Daggett and Nastia Liukin would agree to be part of such a farce. Any self-respecting gymnastics expert would want nothing to do with the NBC Olympic primetime gymnastics coverage. It was appalling.


    1. I disagree with you about Tragtwig and wrote up an article with the reasons why. It is at TheBusyFan.com. Take a look because it provides a comprehensive analysis about him and why he is not so bad for the casual fan who drives the prime time coverage.


      1. OK. I’ll read the article. You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I’ll read your article to understand the bases for those opinions. In *my* opinion, Al Trautwig should be fired because he says/implies incorrect things about the sport of gymnastics and its scoring system.

        1. He once remarked on a Chinese gymnast’s score (this didn’t happen at Rio) that was 15+, “well, that certainly won’t help China.” However, a 15+ score is a very good score in TF, and not a score that deserves this level of disdain.

        2. He verbalized that Oleg’s gold medal winning routine would challenge for bronze at best. He never considered Oleg’s higher D-score. Why is he unaware of how gymnastics is scored? That is a huge knowledge omission for a professional gymnastics commentator.

        Also, Al Trautwig is not appealing to casual fans who “drive the primetime coverage.” NBC had the lowest ratings in several Olympics. Therefore, according to the viewership numbers, Al is not appealing to anybody–casual fans or hardcore gymnastics fans.


    1. Thanks Busy Fan. Good research. I’ll link to your article Wednesday.

      NBC will only consider ratings, me thinks. Since they are down for Rio they may want to change up the team.


    2. Al can’t play the excuse “I don’t care to know what an amanar is”, even with nastia around. When you have covered 1 sport for as long as he does you should at least know a lot of these things just by exposure. Commentators are supposed to enhance viewers with backgrounds, not degrading athletes or present wrong facts. Sensitivity training would help as would a change of mindset of especially the producers and executives too. Why can’t they learn from BBC coverage?


  6. I don’t want to really get anyone fired unless that’s the only way. Al should be given a chance to change it. Maybe he was handholding back by the executives and producers? The point is that NBC as a whole needs to change their mindset with regard to how they should conduct the coverage.


  7. In my opinion, Tim is as bad as Al. He’s full of hyperbole and distasteful comments of other nation’s athletes. He also fails to take opportunities to educate the audience about the qualities of routines that garner high scores vs. those that don’t. A monkey could comment on a step on a dismount.

    Why oh why can’t they hire Shannon Miller and Courtney Kupets as the team and leave everyone else out. One of the great things about the NBC live feed was how Kupets was often correcting Horton when he made inane comments – she was fierce!


    1. I second this. Would have been nice to even have someone like Lauren of the gymternet or a coach on as a guest spot sometimes. It was nice that they hired lauren to do some work and I hope they would use her perhaps as a guest commentator in the future


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