Why NBC Won't Show The Opening Ceremony At The Olympics Live

rio olympics opening ceremony nbc

You know what's so great about the Olympics? The fact that countries across the world are able to tune in at the exact same time to catch their favorite events. Except when they can't, because an inept network has made the decision not to air a certain portion of the Rio Olympics live. The opening ceremony for the Rio Olympics is scheduled to air on August 5. However, those of you who are really, really into the Olympics won't be able to catch the opening ceremony live at all. Instead, NBC is delaying the program for the weirdest sounding reason. They want to put the Rio ceremony "into context" and "curate" it for us.

What this really means is that those cable subscribers who live on the East Coast will get the ceremony an hour late. Even worse, NBC also isn't giving the West coast the benefit of airing the ceremony at the same time, as generally happens with important awards ceremonies, like the Oscars. Instead, the West Coast will get the Olympics Ceremony a whopping four hours late. So, while people in all corners of the globe are tweeting about the epic spectacle that is likely to occur, we'll still be sitting on our couches and twiddling our thumbs, all so we can get a ceremony that has been "curated" for us. Since the ceremony would initially have aired at 7 p.m. ET if it were live, per USA Today, this really seems to be a bid by NBC to make sure the opening ceremony starts during primetime hours, thus yielding higher ratings for the network.

Thanks, NBC.

I understand that most of the higher ups at the network are probably not the most media-savvy individuals on the planet. To them, an hour might seem like a nice trade off, giving the network time to put together a "nicer edit" that might make for a prettier broadcast--and again yield more advertising dollars during primetime--but that's not the point of the Olympics. The point of the Olympics is to be in unity with other countries all over the world, to feel some goddamn pride for the sheer magnitude of the event that was able to come together, even if some door handles might be missing or some seats barely get installed in time. There is the World Cup and there are other events that also bring different countries together, but nothing has quite the gravitas of The Olympics.

We're all in this together---until we are put on a time delay and can't participate in the same way that other countries are able to.

On the bright side, CBC in Canada is noting that the network isn't full of wankers and plan to air the broadcast live, as it intended to be watched. To make things even more convenient, you can also stream the broadcast. So, if you live close to the border, you just might have an answer to this problem.

It's true that some people would be DVRing the event, anyway, but robbing viewers of the opportunity to watch the opening ceremony live just seems cruel. Especially since NBC has proven in the past that it is capable of streaming the opening ceremony and is planning on airing other Rio Olympics events live. In the past, NBC has also put these sorts of ceremonies on time delay, but as times change and the Internet becomes more important, the delay is seeming less and less timely--and far less convenient.

We'll keep you updated if NBC changes its mind. Until then, prepare to watch an hour or more late next month.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.