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Beijing Olympics

NBC, Amazingly, Still Hawking Beijing Merchandise


Well, we thought our “absolute last chance to purchase Beijing 2008 Olympic Games merchandise” was in late October, but silly us for believing the NBC hype. We just received an email informing us that we have until tomorrow to get our official tee shirts and whatnot. Seriously, this is the last time. Of course, we’ve heard this before.

Perhaps the Peacock was inspired by this weekend’s 60 Minutes interview of Michael Phelps. This 15 minutes sure is lasting an awfully long time.

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NBC Still Selling Beijing Olympic Merch


It was funny the first time you sent us an email. Then it was a little sad the second time. Now, NBC’s attempt to sell its leftover Beijing Olympic apparel is just pathetic. Sure, General Electric Capital, which funded so many programs, is in big trouble and a a total wild card is running NBC Entertainment, but can’t you cut your losses? Vancouver’s less then 18 months away and you’ll have all new stuff to sell.

Get it here. Seriously, this is the last time.

Get Your Hopelessly Outdated Beijing Olympics Merch Cheaper


We thought we were done with this, but nope, there’s still some Beijing Olympic gear for sale at NBC’s corporate store. Ten percent off! With sluggish ratings, the company has to make its money somewhere.

NBC Squeezes Every Last Cent Out of Beijing Olympics


Because $1 billion-plus just isn’t enough, NBC‘s offering you the opportunity to purchase all its leftover Olympic crapapparel.

So Just How Successful Were NBC’s Olympics?

2003.09.0010.jpgVery, apparently. Steve Springer, the Los Angeles Times‘ “On the Media” columnist, offers a variety of increasingly complex metrics to prove that the Beijing Olympics “were watched by more Americans than any event in U.S. television history.” 214 million different Americans to be exact, according to NBC spokesman Adam Freifeld. This number includes all the platforms.

Some comparisons: Roots, the highest-rated miniseries of all-time, had a total of 660 million viewers, but most watched every night, leaving the total number of different viewers well short of the Olympic number. Similarly, 266.5 million people watched the 1982 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers (why?), but again, most of those were repeat viewers.

Ratings, however, were a different story. While the Beijing Games faired better than both the 2000 Games in Sydney and the 2004 Games in Athens, Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996) topped the recently concluded contests.

NBC owns the rights to the 2010 and 2012 Olympics in Vancouver and London, respectively, and it will be interesting to see how the company capitalizes on the relative success of these Games. The Peacock did some things right (the streaming video on the Web site was generally solid), but it failed to understand the true opportunities provided by the proliferation of high-speed Internet. We should not be going to YouTube 30 seconds after Usain Bolt wins the 100m to watch it. In a world this fast, sports need to be live or else we will turn elsewhere. Are you listening, Dick Ebersol? We’re available for a very reasonable consulting fee.

Regardless, we’re pleased we won’t have to write another post about the Olympics for at least 12 months.

Phelps Strikes Publishing Gold

michaelphelps082708.jpgJust when you thought the Olympics were over, they pull you right back in, to the pool, that is. Michael Phelps — the shirtless American hero we might already be sick of — just received a book advance of $1.6 million from the Free Press imprint of Simon & Schuster.

That’s $200,000 for each of his gold medals or more than $20,000 for every inch of his 6’7″ wingspan. Regardless of how you break the number down, it’s much more than Jamaican sprinting sensation Usain Bolt will get.

The book, sold by Waxman Literary Agency and Peter Carlisle, Phelps’ talent manager, will hit shelves in December with the title Build to Succeed.

Although the general public only cares about the Olympics once every four years (and even then, our dedication is questionable at best), marketers think Phelps could rise above the trend. His recent Sports Illustrated cover sold 72 percent more copies then an average week in the second half of 2007. Whatever, we’re still not buying his book, although over at GalleyCat, Ron Hogan writes of an Olympic memoir we might actually read.

(The Games also continued to dominate TV ratings.)

Usain Bolt’s the New Michael Phelps

wbBOLT2_wideweb__470x273,0.jpgWith the Michael Phelps backlash in full swing, the world needs a new hero. Enter Usain Bolt, winner of the 100m and 200m races in record-breaking fashion.

Virgin Media tapped the world’s fastest man to hawk its new superfast broadband service. The company is considering calling the product the “Boltband.”

Bolt won’t reach Phelps’ reported $100 million in endorsements, but we doubt this is the last we’ve seen of the brilliant sprinter. If you squint, you can almost see a Gatorade bottle in his other hand.

ESPN Would Like to Reinterpret the Word ‘Live’ to Mean ‘As it Happens’

espn.jpgNo time like the present (or the present minus 12 hours if we’re going by NBC‘s clock). Hot on the heels of the peacock network’s enormous success at the Beijing Games, ESPN has declared its interest in obtaining the television rights to the 2014 and 2016 Olympics. The key? They say they would actually broadcast the sports as they were happening and not, say, twelve hours later after the results have hit every other air wave, whilst NBC minions worked desperately to keep any and all clips off the darn Internets. Says John Skipper, ESPN’s executive vice president for content:

Our DNA is different than theirs, we serve sports fans. It’s hard in our culture to fathom tape-delaying in the same way they have. I’m not suggesting it wasn’t the smart thing for them to do, but it’s not our culture.
Of course, by the 2014 Games (to be held in Sochi, Russia) television as we know it may no longer exist, having dovetailed completely with the Internet, making delayed broadcasting an entirely moot point. But it’s always good to think ahead.

Has New York Already Lost Interest in Michael Phelps?

newyork.JPGYes, if New York‘s “Most Popular Stories” box is to be believed. Judging by comments on the article, it looks like a fair amount of traffic is coming from Spain. The Internet is so ridiculous.

(Also, it’s good to see that not even the single greatest athletic achievement of all-time can unseat Gossip Girl‘s utter domination of the pop culture conversation.)

Maybe NBC Really Does Own the Internet


This just popped up on our facebook page.