SBD/July 31, 2012/Olympics

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  • Monday Primetime Gives NBC First Olympics Ratings Drop Compared To Beijing

    NBC earned a 20.1 overnight Nielsen rating last night for primetime Olympic coverage, marking it first ratings decline compared to the ’08 Beijing Games. Taped coverage on the fourth night of the London Games, which featured U.S. swimmers Missy Franklin winning gold in the 100-meter backstroke, was down 5% from the same night in Beijing. Most of the comparable telecast in ’08 was shown live, including U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps winning the third of his eight gold medals. The 20.1 overnight is still up from Athens in ’04 (19.6).

    FIRST WEEKEND: Through three nights, NBC had a 19.2 final rating and 35.8 million viewers, up 17% and 12%, respectively, from a 17.1 rating and 30.6 million viewers during the first weekend of the '08 Beijing Games. The 35.8 million viewership average marks the best figure in Olympic history, dating back to the first televised Games in '60. The 19.2 average rating is the best three-day average since a 21.4 rating during the '96 Atlanta Games. Salt Lake City leads all U.S. markets to date with a 25.8 local rating (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). Horizon Media Research Dir Brad Adgate tweeted, "First 3 nights the median age of the has been 49.1 & 55% of the audience are female. In Beijing it was 48.4 & 54.6% after 3 days" (TWITTER.com, 7/31).

    PRIMETIME OLYMPIC RATINGS
     
    Day
    London
    Beijing
    Athens
    Sydney
    Atlanta
    Opening Ceremony
    Fri.
    21.0
    18.8
    14.6
    16.2
    23.6
    Day 2
    Sat.
    15.8
    13.9
    11.8
    13.1
    17.2
    Day 3
    Sun.
    19.8
    18.1
    15.4
    14.6
    22.9
    3-Night Avg.
    19.2
    17.1
    14.1
    14.5
    21.4
               

    DAY THREE HIGHLIGHTS: NBC's third night of primetime coverage finished with a 19.8 rating and 36.0 million viewers for tape-delayed action, marking the highest-rated and most-viewed first Sunday for a non-U.S. Summer Olympics on record. Those figures also are up 9% and 11%, respectively, from the first Sunday in '08. The net’s morning coverage on Sunday from 9:51am-12:00pm ET averaged an 8.2 rating and 12.7 million viewers, up 6% and 8%, respectively, from the comparable period during Beijing. Coverage from 12:00-6:00pm averaged a 9.9 rating and 16.0 million viewers, up 11% and 13%. Early-morning coverage from 7:00-9:51am drew a 4.3 rating and 6.0 million viewers, while late-night recap (12:35-1:22am) drew a 4.6 rating and 6.9 million viewers (NBC). USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand notes Sunday morning's coverage, which included a cycling event, would “be a good rating for most college football bowls.” Sunday afternoon's coverage, highlighted by water polo and beach volleyball, were “better than the ratings for final-round coverage of the Masters and five games in last fall’s World Series.” NBC’s late-night recap was more than “double what ESPN got” for Red Sox-Yankees on Sunday night (USA TODAY, 7/31).

    TUNING IN: In Florida, David Dorsey notes the Ft. Myers-Naples market, which ranks at the bottom of the 56 U.S. metered markets in size, "vaulted to No. 5 in the nation for watching the first night of Summer Olympic competition Saturday." Scarborough Research found that the average viewing age in Ft. Myers-Naples is 51.5, "compared to the national average of 46.7.” NBC Sports VP/Communications Adam Freifeld said that having an “older market that lacks a major league sports team and other distractions could help drive local TV viewership of the Olympics.” Dorsey notes NBC News “announced early Saturday evening that U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte had won the gold medal in the 400-meter individual medley and that Michael Phelps finished fourth, failing to medal.” WBBH-NBC GM Steve Pontius said, “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, there go the ratings.’” However, WBBH’s viewership actually “peaked Saturday night between 9:30 and 10 p.m., when that race was shown, with a 27.69 rating.” Sports media blogger Ken Fang: “Older Americans aren’t on Twitter. They’re willing to wait. They’re probably not sorting through the results that are already being reported through social networking and on Websites” (Ft. Myers NEWS-PRESS, 7/31). Meanwhile, in San Jose, Charlie McCollum notes the regions with the biggest viewership were the Pacific and Mountain time zones, where “the tape delays were tape delayed an additional three and two hours, respectively” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/31).

    ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM
    : The GUARDIAN’s Emma Keller wrote under the header, “In NBC Olympics Coverage Competition Comes Second To Praising Team USA.” Keller wrote, “We didn't mind you cheering about Dana Vollmer in the women's butterfly on Sunday night, she won a gold medal and broke a world record after all. But when the first South African wins a gold medal in men's swimming it would be nice to give him more than ten seconds of air time before racing over to gush about Team USA Brendan Hansen's bronze.” Keller continued: “NBC, it was your own Bob Costas who said the Olympics are a competition not a celebration. Show us more of the competition and stop praising the home team unless they actually win” (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 7/30). In N.Y., John Branch wrote it is “strange to cover the Olympics several times and then sit one out and watch on television.” A “straightforward competition in person becomes a network reality show, a narrated passion play set to dramatic music and slow-motion replays” (NYTIMES.com, 7/30). CABLEFAX DAILY notes, “Not everyone’s a critic.” The U.S. sailing team on Sunday tweeted, “This is by far the greatest sailing TV coverage in #Olympic history” (CABLEFAX DAILY, 7/31).

    PLEASE WAIT ... BUFERING
    : AD WEEK’s Sam Thielman reviewed NBC’s online streaming and wrote it has been “plagued by feeds of events that aren't happening, feeds that pixellate or freeze, and are interrupted by ads every five minutes, whether or not a gymnast is hovering in mid-leap.” The latter is “particularly troublesome -- the streaming site allows viewers to watch one feed in a large window with live commentary and sound and one in a silent, smaller window; when the ad comes up, it gets played in the large window and the small window goes blank, so there's no chance whatsoever of your ignoring the advertisement in favor of your favorite event.” This has led “pretty directly to a Twitter-storm of outrage -- NBCfail, #NBCsucks, and a Twitter account (@NBCDelayed) devoted entirely to mocking the lateness of the results.” The streaming has split the online viewers “into two camps: one that's forever complaining about the ad-supported, MSO-approved website, and another that's extolling the virtues … of using a pirated signal to watch the Olympics on the BBC” (ADWEEK.com, 7/30). Ed Sherman in a blog entry wrote under the header, “Technical Glitches From NBCOlympics.com Shouldn’t Be Unexpected.” Sherman: “Clearly, the technology isn’t there yet to support such a massive on-line extravaganza at NBCOlympics.com. Unlike television, there still are too many variables when it comes to Internet providers, mobile devices, individual computers, etc. It all adds up to plenty of room for error.” He added, “My computer seized up on me Sunday morning. I never got to watch the end of that badminton match” (SHERMANREPORT.com, 7/30).

    BRINGING IN BACKUP: In N.Y., Carson Griffith cited a source as saying that NBC “flew Hoda Kotb to London over the weekend to take part in the ‘Today’ show's Olympic coverage because audiences weren’t digging” Ann Curry's replacement, Savannah Guthrie (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/31). Kotb this morning made her debut in London, interviewing Franklin following her Gold Medal-winning swim in the 100-meter backstroke. Franklin during the interview was reunited with her parents after not seeing them since early July. Guthrie introduced Kotb by saying, “Hoda Kotb, who has made her way to London, talked to Missy right after the race.” NBC’s Matt Lauer said to Kotb, “Welcome to London” ("Today," NBC, 7/31).
     
    THIS IS "TODAY": Tuesday's "Today" episode heavily featured Franklin, who Lauer called “the female version of Michael Phelps.” Following Kotb’s interview with Franklin, the swimmers’ parents were interviewed live on-set. Swimmers Matt Grevers and Nick Thoman, who finished 1-2 in the 100-meter backstroke, were interviewed live, as were male gymnasts Jonathan Horton and Jake Dalton following their failure to medal in the team competition. The opening hour also included a report on U.S. women's soccer G Hope Solo tweeting about NBC’s Brandi Chastain and a live interview with members of Lochte’s family. Former Gold Medalists Carly Patterson, Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin previewed the U.S. women’s gymnastics team bid for the team Gold Medal in the second hour. That segment also included live interviews with Bronze Medal-winning synchronized divers Nick McCrory and David Boudia and a discussion of the U.S. swim team’s success with analyst Rowdy Gaines and NBCOlympics.com’s Alan Abrahamson. The third hour featured live interviews with NBC’s Tim Daggett and Elfi Schlegel previewing tonight’s women’s gymnastics action, the parents of gymnast Aly Raisman and Bronze Medal-winning judoka Marti Malloy. A taped profile of Franklin also aired (THE DAILY).

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  • NBC's Lazarus Defends Decision To Show Top Sports On Tape-Delay In Primetime

    Lazarus surpised London Games are rating ahead of Beijing from four years ago

    NBC Sports Chair Mark Lazarus defended his network’s decision to show some marquee Olympic sports, like swimming and gymnastics, on tape delay in NBC’s primetime window. Addressing the topic for the first time since the London Games started, Lazarus told THE DAILY that the early TV ratings show that most Americans are comfortable with the way NBC develops stories around the games. “I think what we’ve proven is that the American viewing public likes the way we tell the story and wants to gather in front of the television with their friends and family -- even if they have the ability to watch it live either on television or digitally,” Lazarus said. “I inherently trust that decision is the right one and that people want to see these events.” Lazarus said that he has heard the complaints from Twitter, where people protesting NBC’s decision to tape delay certain events added “#NBCFail” to their tweets. But Lazarus said he trusts NBC execs and their years of Olympics experience with make programming decisions that are based on years of research. “As programmers, we are charged to manage the business. And this is a business,” Lazarus said. “It’s not everyone’s inalienable right to get whatever they want. We are charged with making smart decisions for our company, for our shareholders and to present the product the way we believe is best.” It is hard to argue with NBC’s TV ratings performance so far. NBC is averaging a 19.2 rating/35.8 million viewers in its primetime window through the Games’ first weekend. The 35.8 million viewership figure is the highest in Olympic history. Before the games, NBC Sports identified the finals of five events -- swimming, gymnastics, diving, beach volleyball and track & field -- that it will not show live on television, opting to hold until primetime. Nothing from the Olympics opening weekend has caused him to change his mind. “NBC has created a formula around story arcs,” Lazarus said. “The American population wants to get to know the athletes and follow their stories.”

    TACKLING CRITICISM: NBC on Saturday streamed the men’s 400-meter IM race live where American Ryan Lochte won Gold and Michael Phelps finished fourth. It did not show the race on TV until primetime, leading to a flood of criticism on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Lazarus said he was pleased with the race's results online and on TV. More than 943,000 online streams were started during that race’s window. When the race was aired on NBC, hours after it originally happened, it pulled a huge 24 rating in that segment. “My guess is that those people who watched it online came and watched it again,” Lazarus said. NBC also received a lot of criticism for not showing the Opening Ceremony live. Lazarus said the network never planned to stream the Opening or Closing ceremonies live, saying that such an event would be too difficult online without proper commentary. “We don’t believe that a raw feed, which would be a host feed, without narration and broadcasting would be a good user experience in a big stadium with lots of camera cuts,” Lazarus said. “We think we created the best experience. Frankly, I think all of the noise about Queen Elizabeth and Paul McCartney on social media and in the digital world helped build excitement for our primetime show.” Pointing to his network’s decision to stream every event live online, Lazarus said NBC is doing a lot more experimenting in these Olympics than ever before, particularly online, where it is streaming every Olympics event live. “It’s a technological feat that’s never been tackled,” he said. “I’m very proud of our team who have been working their butts off to continue to try and improve the experience every minute of every day.”

    SURPRISED BY THE RATINGS: Lazarus said he has been surprised by NBC’s TV ratings performance. “I am surprised that we are having a dialogue today about being in the range of Beijing and exceeding Beijing at this point,” he said. “It sure is a lot more fun than being behind. If we were down 10 percent from Beijing, we’d be saying that this is probably about what we expected. Even 15 percent.” A main reason for NBC's strong ratings performance is the net's decision to blow out its digital and VOD offerings. “We have believed from the beginning that a multi-platform approach to surrounding consumers with Olympic programming leading to a primetime on NBC would make people want to gather even if they knew the results,” Lazarus said. “We still have a ways to go. But that seems to be playing out quite well.”

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  • CBS President Indicates He Likely Would Utilize Tape-Delay Strategy For Olympics

    Moonves says if CBS has Olympics, he would likely use tape-delay strategy

    CBS President & CEO Les Moonves “supports NBC's primetime-first strategy” in its coverage of the London Games, according to Andrea Morabito of BROADCASTING & CABLE. Moonves said, "They had no alternative to do that. What are they going to do in primetime? They would have had to show events at 5 o'clock in the morning." He added, "They don't happen that way. If you don't want to know the result, don't go online. If you want to know the result, go online. But I don't know what people expected of them and I think they're doing a very good job of balancing it. I really do." Moonves also said that if the Olympics aired on CBS, he would “most likely employ the same tape-delay strategy to preserve the primetime viewership” (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 7/30).

    SECOND VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST: The NATIONAL POST’s Eric Koreen wrote the “same hand-wringing happens every two years with NBC,” and it “will not change.” NBC took a “financial beating in Vancouver, so high remains the price of winning Olympic broadcasting rights.” NBC “needs the Olympics, especially the Summer Olympics, as much to be a launching pad for its fall programming as for immediate advertising revenue” (NATIONALPOST.com, 7/30). In Chicago, Richard Roeper notes NBC “packages the elite sports events into tape-delayed prime-time packages because it translates into ratings gold.” Much of the “whining on Twitter seems laughably naïve” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/31). In L.A., Scott Collins writes, “Surprisingly, audiences seem blithely unconcerned even about spoilers.” Univ. of Alabama sports media professor Andrew Billings said, "If people are really hating the Olympic coverage, they have an odd way of showing it, as ratings are terrific by almost any objective measure" (L.A. TIMES, 7/31). More Billings: "The ratings are surprising to me. I thought social media would be more of a detriment than an attribute. I thought more people would not tune in because they knew the results" (AP, 7/30).

    SPOIL SPORT: In N.Y., Michael Starr notes the London Games are being called the "Twitter Olympics" because of the "huge impact -- good and bad -- that the super-quick social media is having on NBC.” But so far, with partners like Twitter, NBC “must be asking who needs enemies?” Not only is NBC “being pilloried for different aspects of its coverage, but Twitter users are playing spoiler by posting results well before the events air on TV.” It “appears as if sites like Twitter may actually be driving more viewers to watch” (N.Y. POST, 7/31). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Rosman, Holmes & Stewart write the “hope is that people gorging on Twitter and blogs all day long will continue talking about the live events -- even if the talk is negative -- and that talk will keep pushing up the prime-time audience” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/31).

    A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME
    : In Baltimore, David Zurawik cited analysts as saying that the “disconnect between NBC’s success on TV and failure in social media highlights not only the landmark transformation taking place in media these days, but also the radical change in audience expectations and behavior.” City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism professor Jeff Jarvis said, “This kind of reaction to tape delay in Olympics coverage has always been there. People have never liked it. But now with Twitter, you can hear the complaints from the people formerly known as the audience” (Baltimore SUN, 7/31). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes by the ’16 Rio Games, when there will be “more technological advances in the way we get our information, a tipping point will be reached.” NBC will be “forced to put its tired format on ice and come up with something new” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/31). In Pittsburgh, Dejan Kovacevic wrote, “NBC’s executives think people will willfully tune out everything just to better enjoy their prime-time programming? That rates somewhere between arrogant and astoundingly stupid” (TRIBLIVE.com, 7/30). Blogger Ed Sherman wrote, “I’ll watch primetime, because that’s what I do. But I won’t enjoy it as much if I know who won and lost” (SHERMANREPORT.com, 7/30).

    LATE-NIGHT LAUGHS: NBC's tape-delay coverage is drawing some notice from the late-night talk show hosts. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert said, “The London Olympics are finally underway. I tell you, there is nothing like the thrill of seeing Team USA triumph in an Internet headline and then waiting to see it confirmed on NBC seven hours later” (“The Colbert Report,” Comedy Central, 7/30). Meanwhile, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart said of NBC editing out a tribute to British terrorist victims during the Opening Ceremony, “NBC, the network that to commemorate 9/11, actually re-runs 9/11. You wouldn’t air a six-minute tribute to the rest of the world’s terrorist victims because the world’s most overexposed land-based mammal (Ryan Seacrest) had a chance to speak with world’s most over-exposed water-based mammal (Michael Phelps)” (“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” Comedy Central, 7/30).

    Print | Tags: Olympics, NBC
  • NBC Spoils Missy Franklin's Gold Medal-Winning Swim With "Today" Promo

    Franklin won her first Olympic gold medal yesterday in the 100-meter backstroke

    NBC last night spoiled the results of Missy Franklin’s win in the 100-meter backstroke before the race aired during its primetime broadcast. NBC’s Dan Hicks wrapped up his call of Franklin’s swim in the 200-meter freestyle semifinal before going to a commercial break by saying, “How good can Missy Franklin be tonight? Finals of 100 back coming up.” A promo for this morning’s episode of “Today” then aired, carrying the voiceover, “When you’re 17 years old and win your first Gold Medal, there’s nobody you’d rather share it with. We’re there when Missy Franklin and her parents reunite.” The NBC broadcast returned to show Franklin preparing to run the backstroke event. Hicks said, “Missy Franklin just moments away from her first Olympic final. … Missy Franklin goes for her first individual gold medal” (NBC, 7/30). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes Hicks “was not at fault; he was calling the race live to tape,” and he could not have known NBC "was simultaneously serving another master, the morning audience, by carrying a promo that ruined his call.” An NBC Sports Group spokesperson said, “Clearly that promo should not have aired at that time. We have a process in place and this will not happen again. We apologize to viewers who were watching and didn’t know the result of the race.” Sandomir notes the error did arouse “further ire on Twitter about NBC’s Olympic broadcasting policy” (NYTIMES.com, 7/31). Also in N.Y., Jeremy Peters notes NBC’s decision to stream Olympic events online has “resulted in more than a few spoilers for major events,” but no spoiler was “quite as embarrassing as the ‘Today’ slip-up” (NYTIMES.com, 7/31).

    INSULTING TO THE VIEWERS: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER’s Sophie Schillaci wrote many viewers have "dutifully avoided the Internet and other mediums that would spoil the Games’ results," but few fans "expected to face those spoilers on the very network that was broadcasting the event” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 7/30). YAHOO SPORTS’ Chris Chase wrote spoilers during the Olympics are “difficult to avoid,” but to hear it directly from the network just prior to the race is "irresponsible, hypocritical and insulting.” NBC needs to "stop believing that 25 million casual viewers gives it a mandate to slap the minority of hardcore ones in the face." Chase: "There's a dedicated corps of fans who dutifully avoid results throughout the day. The network ruins it enough by tape delaying coverage. Don't compound the issue by spoiling it, too” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/30). SLATE’s Josh Levin notes to “boost the ratings of its morning show, NBC promoted a newly minted star who it had yet to mint as a star because it was trying to boost the ratings of its primetime show.” With its “commercial screw-up, NBC pulled off the amazing feat of ruining the event it had already ruined.” The only people who were “harmed by NBC’s flub tonight were the poor suckers who had played by the peacock’s rules.” It is the “suckers who pile up the ratings points that pay the network’s bills, and the network pays them back by treating them like an ATM rather than an audience” (SLATE.com, 7/31).

    MORE EXPLANATION WOULD HAVE HELPED: The AP’s David Bauder writes Hicks and swimming analyst Rowdy Gaines last night “rightly made a big deal” of Franklin having “only 10 minutes between races just before her gold medal run.” However, it "would be nice to know why she spent some of that precious time in a pool, swimming back and forth.” Meanwhile, a nice touch on NBC's Franklin coverage was a "profile showing how the 17-year-old swimmer stayed with her friends and family in Colorado instead of leaving home for more intense training” (AP, 7/31).

    EMOTIONAL RESCUE: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’s Adam Vary named Franklin the publication's “Olympic Stud of the Day” and wrote for fans unfamiliar with Franklin before last night, NBC's Bob Costas “informed the viewing audience that this remarkable young woman hails from Aurora, Colo., the site of the horrific movie theater shooting 10 days ago.” Vary: “Costas then cut to a scene of local kids watching Franklin swim her 100m backstroke final (and apparently watching it live, those lucky rascals), and losing their ever-loving minds when she won." Vary: "I’m still kinda reeling from that one” (EW.com, 7/31).

    Print | Tags: Olympics, NBC
  • Franklin Could Miss Out On Millions From Sponsors By Maintaining Amateur Status

    U.S. swimmer Missy Franklin last night won her first Olympic Gold Medal in stunning fashion, but she will not be cashing in on it anytime soon. The 17 year old, who rallied to win the 100m backstroke, has opted to keep her amateur status. It is a decision that cost her as much as $1.5M in earnings this year, said Olympic agent Evan Morgenstein. Morgenstein, who works with swimmers like Dara Torres and Cullen Jones, said that Franklin's decision to preserve her amateur status meant she was not able to capitalize on sponsor interest in her prior to the Games. She was an Olympic medal favorite after winning five medals at last year's world championships, and deals with sponsors could have brought her, conservatively, anywhere from $750,000-1.5M this year. Franklin opted not to go pro because she wants to swim in college. The decision saved her from trying to juggle the demands of five to six sponsor appearances with her training this year. "How many of those deals is a young swimmer going to do and still be able to practice?" Morgenstein said. "It's a risk." But so is sitting out an Olympics. By contrast, Michael Phelps opted to turn pro at 16 after reaching the '00 Sydney Games at 15 years old. He reportedly earns as much as $5M a year now. The market is much different for swimmers today than it was back when Phelps turned pro. Swimwear deals tend to be a swimmer's first big endorsement and can run into the seven figures. But swimwear companies have pulled back their marketing budgets and there is less competition among the top swimwear brands -- Arena, Tyr and Speedo -- for athletes. The result is athletes are being offered smaller deals and fewer long-term agreements like the 10-year deals U.S. Olympians Ryan Lochte and Katie Hoff signed last decade. "Those don't exist anymore," Morgenstein said. So when will Franklin go pro? Morgenstein expects Franklin to swim in college for two years and go pro before or after the '14 World Championships. That would allow her to spread her sponsor commitments over two years, giving her plenty of time to adjust to the demands of sponsors. Then she has the chance to be the "it" girl of the '16 Games. "Rio's going to be big," Morgenstein said (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).

    A MOMENT LIKE THIS: In Newark, Steve Politi writes Franklin is the "new darling of Team USA, the goofy teenager who is ready to steal these Olympics after a breakthrough gold medal last night." Politi: "Get ready, America: The London Games are about to feel a whole lot like a Justin Bieber concert, with energy and giggles and something so often missing from what is supposed to be a three-week celebration of the world’s best amateur athletes. Innocence" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 7/31). In Denver, Mark Kiszla writes, "With a victorious touch of the pool wall, Franklin morphed from a teenager hyped as the future of U.S. swimming to a bona fide Olympic legend. How quickly can a young life change forever?" (DENVER POST, 7/31). NBC News' Matt Lauer said Franklin “came to London poised to become the breakout star of these Games, the female version of Michael Phelps." Lauer: "In the 100-meter backstroke finals, she lived up to the hype” ("Today," NBC, 7/31). ESPN.com's Wayne Drehs wrote if Franklin "is to become the next big thing in swimming" and try to fill Phelps' "impossibly large shoes, Monday was one heck of a first step." But it is also "important to remember she's still just a 17-year-old high school senior-to-be" (ESPN.com, 7/30).

    JUST BEING HERSELF: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jason Gay notes Franklin has resisted going pro, and she is the "exception, not because she wanted to make some kind of grand statement about sports, but because she likes who she is right now." She has "arrived from central casting." The talent is "obvious, the smile billboard-ready, the ego humbly in check." Those tears during the medal ceremony national anthem "were real ones, her astonishment genuine" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/31). SPORTING NEWS' David Whitley wrote, "Just when it seemed U.S. swimming had lost its marquee value, along came Missy Franklin." NBC "thanks you for saving its day, Missy." Franklin has "already turned down nice endorsement offers." But if last night is "any indication, she could make enough to buy a college and make her own darned rules" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 7/30). A WALL STREET JOURNAL editorial states an economist "might question her judgment, but Americans will likely be encouraged that in our texting, tweeting era of instantaneity, there is still a teenager somewhere who believes in deferred gratification" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/31).

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  • British Reporter Suspended From Twitter After Making Public Gary Zenkel's E-mail Address

    Adams' tweet urged followers to complain to NBC about the net's tape-delayed coverage

    Twitter has suspended the account of the London Independent's Guy Adams following a tweet that urged his followers to complain about NBC's tape-delayed coverage and included the e-mail address of NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel. NBC Sports issued a statement that read, "We filed a complaint with Twitter because a user tweeted the personal information of one of our executives. According to Twitter, this is a violation of their privacy policy. Twitter alone levies discipline" (THE DAILY). The GUARDIAN’s Josh Halliday notes NBC claimed that Twitter “had alerted it to Adams’ tweets, not the other way round.” NBC Sports & Olympic VP/Communications Christopher McCloskey in an e-mail said, “Our social media dept was actually alerted to it by Twitter and then we filled out the form and submitted it” (GUARDIAN, 7/31). The GUARDIAN’s Ed Pilkington wrote London Independent Deputy Editor Archie Bland “confirmed the suspension, calling it ‘heavy-handed.’” NBC acted after Adams encouraged people to complain to Zenkel "about the TV network's delayed broadcast of the opening ceremony of the Games.” Twitter's terms and conditions state that users "must not post private email addresses, unless they are already available on the internet.” Adams said that the e-mail “was not a private one but a corporate account, and that Zenkel's address is identical in form to thousands of other NBC employees.” Pilkington noted suspicions that Twitter “had over-reached itself and strayed into censorship were heightened by the fact that the firm has entered into a deal with NBCUniversal in which Twitter becomes the official narrator of live events at the Olympics” (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 7/30).

    DECIPHERING THE RULES: USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand writes Adams has become “something of a martyr in the Twitterverse since his account was suspended after his tweets.” Adams said, “I didn’t publish a private e-mail address. Just a corporate one, which is widely available to anyone with access to Google.” Hiestand notes NBC has a “non-financial partnership with Twitter for Games coverage” (USA TODAY, 7/31). Twitter spokesperson Rachael Horwitz said that the company “never comments on individual users for privacy reasons.” But she said that Twitter “considers work emails private unless they’re publicly shared." Adams: “If this Gary Zenkel doesn’t want to hear from the many tens of thousands of customers he upset with his network’s coverage, I think he’s in the wrong job” (AP, 7/31). BLOOMBERG NEWS’ Sherman & Womack noted Twitter “says on its website that posting ‘non-public, personal e-mail addresses’ are examples of private and confidential information." It does not "specify if work e-mails are public or non-public” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 7/30). MASHABLE.com’s Chris Taylor wrote Adams “probably went a little further than most,” but he “didn’t actually violate Twitter’s terms of service.” Taylor: “Don’t be surprised to see Adams’ account reinstated -- the company has a history of acting precipitously when it comes to account deletions, then reversing themselves” (MASHABLE.com, 7/30). In London, Sam Masters writes NBC “was at the centre of controversy last night” as news of the suspension “sparked tens of thousands of angry messages on Twitter” (London INDEPENDENT, 7/31).

    PARTNERS IN CRIME
    : The GUARDIAN’s Dan Gillmor writes what makes this “a serious issue is that Twitter has partnered with NBC during the Olympics,” and it was “NBC's complaint about Adams that led to the suspension.” Gillmor: “That alone raises reasonable suspicions about Twitter's motives. ... Twitter should apologize and reinstate Adams' account immediately. If it does so, there's little harm done -- and the company will have learned a lesson. If not, this is a defining moment for Twitter. It will have demonstrated that it can be bullied by its business partners into acts that damage its credibility” (GUARDIAN, 7/31). YAHOO SPORTS’ Dan Wetzel wrote the decision to suspend Adams' account was “a colossal mistake.” Wetzel: “So, first, they team up and then coincidentally one of the network's most relentless critics gets booted from the website? … This is a public-relations gaffe, and it's hard to imagine how Twitter didn't see it coming” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/30). In L.A., Salvador Rodriguez wrote Twitter and NBC “are partners, and friends tend to watch each others' backs." Rodriguez: "If you have been criticizing NBC and plan to continue doing so, it may be best to make sure you aren't violating Twitter's policies -- you don't want to find your account down the next time you try to log on” (LATIMES.com, 7/30).

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  • Offensive Tweet Sees Another Athlete Sent Home; Twitter's Impact Heavy At London Games

    Morganella was sent home after "racially insensitive" tweet about South Koreans

    Thanks to the "megaphone that is social media," athletes at the London Games "are sharing their opinions -- some controversial -- and discovering how far their voices reach," according to a front-page piece by Jon Saraceno of USA TODAY. The latest "Twitter victim" was Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella, who was kicked off the team "after a racially insensitive remark directed at South Koreans." Morganella's tweet said that he "wanted to beat up South Koreans, that they should 'burn' and, in the most egregious reference, described them as a 'bunch of mongoloids'" (USA TODAY, 7/31). USA TODAY's Louise Branson writes the advantages of Twitter "are obvious, and exciting." Many Americans "are now tracking less popular events" and "connecting more intimately with athletes." Branson: "The disadvantages? Tweets can become self-promoting or worse" (USA TODAY, 7/31). The GLOBE & MAIL's Josh O'Kane notes Morganella and Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou, who "was expelled last week for a racist tweet against African immigrants," both "have since apologized, but their stories are poignant in a world that is growing used to impolite online comment" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/31). The N.Y. DAILY NEWS writes, "Twitter can be dangerous to your Olympic well-being." For the second time in four days, an athlete "has been bounced out of here because of an unseemly 140-character blast from a Twitter accounts" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/31). Also in N.Y., Ken Belson writes, "The expulsions highlight the growing tension around the use of social media by athletes" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/31). In S.F., Paresh Dave writes, "The trending topic at the Olympic Games might actually be Twitter." The social media site has "made its omnipresence felt" at the London Games. Twitter's "growing presence has been apparent in more than half a dozen instances in the games' opening days" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/31). 

    TAKE WITH A GRAIN OF SALT? FOXSPORTS.com's Greg Couch writes, "The truth is that tweets are being judged way too harshly." They are "little thoughts that just pop out of people’s heads, meant to be stream of consciousness." That "doesn’t mean you can go without a filter, but it does mean that we need to lower our standards a little before using tweets to judge who people are and what they’re about" (FOXSPORTS.com, 7/31). FOXSPORTS.com's Jason Whitlock writes, "In terms of can’t-forget signature moments, this Olympics is going to be remembered for faux Twitter outrage." Athletes are "getting sent home for saying dumb (spit) on Twitter, and they’re protesting the IOC’s ban on athletes thanking their non-IOC-fleeced sponsors." Whitlock: "Thank God there wasn't Twitter in the 1960s." U.S. sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith "would’ve never raised black-gloved fists" (FOXSPORTS.com, 7/31). In Sydney, Darren Davidson wrote it is "only day three of the Olympics, yet Twitter already has played a key role in some of the biggest stories in London" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/30). MARKETWATCH's Sam Mamudi writes, "Less than a week in, and it seems Twitter in particular is having more of an impact than many would have guessed" (MARKETWATCH.com, 7/31).

    CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR: In Boston, Hiawatha Bray writes, "Organizers and broadcasters who hailed the London Games as the first social media Olympics may now wish the events were a little less social, as heavy smartphone use caused technical glitches and Twitter became a worldwide platform for complaints about everything from ad sponsors to TV coverage." A study by Cambridge-based Bluefin Labs found that Americans "posted 4.5 million Olympics-related Facebook and Twitter messages on Saturday and 5 million on Sunday." By comparison, this year’s Super Bowl "generated 12.2 million messages." Overall, Twitter reaction to the London Games "has been solidly positive." A study by Boston-based Sosolimited found that over 60% percent of all messages posted about the Olympics since competition began "have been favorable." But that "leaves plenty of room for hostile comment" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/31).

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  • LOCOG Puts Additional Tickets On Sale Nightly To Defuse Empty Seat Furor

    LOCOG now selling tickets not being used by sports federations

    LOCOG announced that “batches of tickets for the next day's events will go on sale every evening in an effort to defuse the row over empty seats,” according to Matthew Taylor of the GUARDIAN. Sporting federations will “meet each evening to agree which blocks of tickets can go back on sale that night.” Tickets could “appear on the London 2012 ticketing website after midnight for sessions starting the next morning.” LOCOG said that by “selling the tickets only online it would allow people across the country to have a chance to purchase seats.” But with “such tight timeframes the system appears to favour people who live close to the venues.” LOCOG yesterday said that it had “sold 600 tickets for gymnastics sessions, 700 for beach volleyball and more than 100 for swimming” (GUARDIAN, 7/31). The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Kortekaas & Stacey note, “While no one is being forced to return tickets, LOCOG is asking federations whether they expect to use all of their allocated tickets for each session each day, and to return any they do not expect to be used.” LOCOG said that it was “doing the best it could to fill the accredited areas" and the amount of accredited seating was 15% less "than previous games” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/31). The AP’s Graham Dunbar notes the empty-seat problem has “lingered beyond the first weekend of competition, taking some shine off Friday's opening ceremony.” U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said, “We can do better,” and added LOCOG needed to “make sure more people get to see more games and also that there are fewer empty seats” (AP, 7/31).

    ROLL CALL: In London, O’Connor & Brown write the IOC “confirmed yesterday that 105 of its 109 members had arrived in London with their families.” An IOC spokesperson said, “Just four members out of 109 have absented themselves for good reason. Attendance at that level would be considered very good for a national organisation, let alone an international one.” However, news of their non-appearance "will compound frustration among British sports fans unable to get tickets.” The availability of seats will also “increase the number of schoolchildren and teachers on the park from 150 to 400” as they are accredited and can be “moved into empty seats at short notice.” Troops will also “continue to be used as seat-fillers on breaks from security shifts.” Swiss tennis player Roger Federer said, “Obviously there are many areas that are reserved for athletes or VIPs, so it’s a bit of a different feel to Wimbledon, where you feel every seat is taken at all times. That takes some getting used to.” Although the sponsors and their guests were said to be "turning up to events, the issue for many was the blanket approach to setting aside seats for federation chiefs, athletes and technical officials” (LONDON TIMES, 7/31). French President Francois Hollande, whose country lost out on the ’12 Games, said, “The problem is that there are simply too many corporate seats. It will be up to French organisers to sort out this problem if a bid for a future games is to be successful.” He added, “The London Olympics have been very well organized. I’m not here to be a killjoy or to give lessons to the British” (London TELEGRAPH, 7/31). MARKETING magazine’s Rachel Barnes writes, “Several times this weekend I was accused of being an apologist as I defended sponsors on this issue; but what do sponsors have to apologise for? They have not been gifted these seats, but paid a heavy price tag in commercial deals set by LOCOG and the International Olympic Committee. The idea that sponsors would simply leave masses of valuable seats empty seems self-defeating” (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 7/31).

    NOT READY FOR A CLOSE-UP: In Toronto, Joseph Hall wrote LOCOG has tried to "deal with the situation with a simpler solution -- keeping the empty seats out of television camera shots.” IOC VP Craig Reedie said, “They are not huge banks (of empty seats) and we tend to put them, if we can, out of camera range” (TORONTO STAR, 7/30). In a special for the FINANCIAL TIMES, former IOC Marketing & Broadcast Rights Dir Michael Payne writes, “London has done better than most hosts. In Seoul, organisers struggled to fill the stadium even for track and field events. Athens and Beijing had swaths of empty seats early on.” Payne: “The real story is that London is the most popular games of all those I have experienced. The huge crowds for the cycling road race was the highlight so far but events such as handball and the canoe slalom have also seen record attendance.” Empty seats “fill column inches, but they shouldn’t get in the way of the really big story: the British public is loving the games” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/31). In London, Ben Rumsby notes the British Olympic Association today called on the IOC to “completely revamp their ticketing policy for future Games.” BOA Chair Lord Colin Moynihan said, “It's time to stop the blame game and also to recognise that this is such a major and complex issue. Moving forwards, this is an issue that I hope the IOC will take a lead on. This is an opportunity for the IOC to put in place an overall ticketing policy that can be improved at each Games.” He added, “This requires huge investment. ... The IOC have now got to take the lead and make sure the investment is in place for a state-of-the-art ticketing policy” (INDEPENDENT.co.uk, 7/31).

    BOUNCING BACK
    : A FINANCIAL TIMES editorial states, “Many things have gone much better for the London 2012 Olympic Games than there was reason to fear.” One thing that has disappointed is an "unseemly quantity of empty seats even for highly popular events such as gymnastics and aquatics.” While the empty seats are “distressing,” they “should not be surprising.” LOCOG is now “acting to recycle unused tickets in accredited seats.” The move “seems to be paying appropriate, if overdue, attention to the problem.” It would have been “better if it had prepared measures in advance -- and the scandal would never have got off the ground,” but the actions taken “seem good ones” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/31). In London, Natalie Haynes writes, “Here's hoping LOCOG mans up and starts selling or giving away Olympic Family tickets that go unused within 30 minutes of the starting time: if you can't be bothered to get there on time, even using your fancy Olympic lanes, limos and the rest, you don't deserve a seat” (London INDEPENDENT, 7/31). In N.Y., Andrew Das noted the British media have begun to “focus on the empty seats, charting them by venue or delighting in publishing photos of different events” (NYTIMES.com, 7/30).

    FAMILY MATTERS: The GUARDIAN's Owen Gibson noted organizers have "promised to overhaul the system for distributing tickets to friends and families of competitors, after complaints that some had missed their events as a result of queues and confusion." Under a system developed by Ticketmaster, the ticketing partner of London Games organizers, athletes are "obliged to log their request for tickets online, then pick them up at a box office" in the Athletes' Village. However, there have been reports of "long queues at the box office," which is also selling other tickets. There have also been “cases where parents have been told to collect their tickets at the venue -- only to find that they are not there.” LOCOG Dir of Sport Debbie Jevans said that it had "opened a new dedicated queue for the collection of tickets for athletes, which would help solve the problem" (GUARDIAN, 7/30). In L.A., Bill Dwyre writes, “The empty seats are only a sideshow, an early-Games aberration solved when the blue bloods get interested. More serious is the reality that most people couldn’t afford those seats, or many others, even if they were made available.” LOCOG Communications Chair Jackie Brock-Doyle said, “The way people bought the tickets -- the stadiums are jampacked -- means our pricing was correct” (L.A. TIMES, 7/31).

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  • Cycling Tech Problems Could Have Been Avoided With Advance Network Notice

    Networks became overloaded due to the number of fans lining the race course

    LOCOG organizers “could have avoided the technical and timing problems that plagued the men's cycling road race on Saturday if they had notified mobile networks in advance,” according to Owen Gibson of the GUARDIAN. Sources said that race organizers “failed to warn them they were using the mobile phone network to carry crucial GPS data.” When networks became overloaded due to the "number of spectators lining the course, LOCOG was unable to provide accurate timing information to broadcasters, the riders on the course or their coaches following in cars.” But sources said that at “no point did LOCOG organisers warn the Joint Olympic Operators Group -- a coalition of the major mobile networks formed to deal with Games-related issues -- of their plan.” If LOCOG had informed the networks in advance, they said that they “could have put in extra capacity and prioritised certain types of traffic to ensure the information was not caught up with public use” (GUARDIAN, 7/31).

    LIFE'S A BEACH: In Chicago, Rick Morrissey writes Horse Guards Parade, which is hosting beach volleyball, is “a stunning setting, the jewel of these Olympics and the go-to event for photographers and cameramen wanting to get the iconic shot of the Games.” It also is a “mecca for horn-dog lechers who have come to watch women in bikinis hug each other.” Prince Albert of Monaco yesterday said, “I still am amazed they got the permission to have the beach-volleyball competition here” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/31). In N.Y., Lyall & Robertson write under the header, “Beach Volleyball’s Lure Isn’t Just The Athletics” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/31). In Miami, Dave Barry writes, “I have a message for the officials in charge of men’s beach volleyball: This is the 21st century. Your sport is never going to gain widespread public acceptance until you open the competition to allow hot women in microscopic swimwear. I would give the same advice to officials of other little-known Olympic sports seeking TV coverage, such as skeet-shooting, horse-riding, kayaking, table tennis and the luge” (MIAMI HERALD, 7/31). Also in Miami, Linda Robertson writes under the header, “No Matter The Weather In London, Beach Volleyball Goes On.” Even if the skies “are gray and the downpours drenching, as they were Sunday, the matches will continue because neither players nor Britons are deterred by the elements” (MIAMI HERALD, 7/31).

    CENTER STAGE: In N.Y., Mary Pilon notes yesterday around 50,000 fans poured into Greenwich Park for the equestrian events, which are “center stage, taking place downtown.” In a country with a “rich equestrian tradition, fans know their horses (and crowned riders), and organizers eagerly amped up the pomp of the sport, which this summer is celebrating its 100th year at the Games.” Well before the 12:30pm local start time, the grounds “were packed, hundreds of fans lining up around the Wind in the Willows-themed water jump and around the sundial” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/31).

    SCHEDULING DILEMMA: The SPORTS NETWORK’s Jim Brighters noted golf returns to the ’16 Rio de Janeiro Games “for the first time in over a century.” The scheduling “figures to be a nightmare,” and in fact, it “already appears to be.” The Int'l Golf Federation “promised no major tournaments during the Olympics.” The PGA Championship is "normally played during this time,” but the PGA of America “graciously said it will move the PGA Championship to the last week of July.” The R&A considered moving up the British Open “a week earlier in 2016 to accommodate the Olympics.” However, the “problem with that scenario is that Wimbledon has been pushed back a week starting in 2015, so the two would be played the same week.” In addition, the moves still do not address “how screwed up the Playoffs, Ryder Cup and some LPGA Tour events, including possible majors, could become” (SPORTS NETWORK, 7/30).

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  • U.S. Track & Field Athletes Lead Revolt Against IOC's Rule 40 Restrictions On Sponsorship

    Richards-Ross said many of her peers struggle to secure funding

    The resentment among U.S. Track & Field athletes regarding the IOC's Rule 40 has "boiled over," according to Jon Saraceno of USA TODAY. The athletes have "launched a public campaign against what they think is a restrictive, income-eliminating IOC policy regarding 'ambush marketers' that bans mention of individual, non-official Olympic sponsors during what amounts to a one-month blackout period -- but also when worldwide exposure is at its maximum peak." U.S. high jumper Jamie Nieto yesterday said, "We're professional athletes, and we don't like being treated like we're amateur athletes." Saraceno notes athletes are "not permitted to publicly acknowledge or endorse their personal sponsors" during the blackout period, including the posting of "photographs thanking sponsors, most notably, but not excluding, on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook." U.S. distance runner Leo Manzano last weekend "was directed by the IOC to remove a photograph of his running shoes from Facebook." That prompted "more dissatisfaction from within the ranks of his teammates -- and the decision to go public after they convened." Saraceno notes "not every U.S. athlete agrees with the protest." Beach volleyball player Todd Rogers said while he would "love to be able to wear my Red Bull hat" during competition, he sees the "bigger picture." He added, "We don't have an event if we don't have the major Olympic sponsors." But U.S. sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross said, "This is not just a USA issue -- it's a global issue." She later backed off a bit when she said, "We definitely don't want to start a war or start too much trouble. We just want to come out here and run well. I'm definitely not forecasting more Twitter rants or a big coming together and uprising of the athletes" (USA TODAY, 7/31). PBS' Tom Hudson noted some smaller Olympic sports are "struggling to stay alive," but "Olympiad-type of products and prices come with Olympic restrictions as well” (“NBR,” PBS, 7/30).

    ATHLETES SPEAK OUT: Richards-Ross has sponsorship deals with BMW, BP, Nike and Citi, but in London, Jerome Taylor notes she "fears that many of her colleagues are being priced out of athletics by the rules." She said, "I've been very fortunate to do very well around the Olympics, but so many of my peers struggle in this sport. And I just think it's unjust." She added, "People see the Olympics, they see the two weeks when athletes are at their best. It's the most glorious time in their lives, but they don't see the three or four years leading up to the Olympic Games when a lot of my peers are struggling to stay in the sport. The majority of track and field athletes don't have sponsors and don't have support to stay in the sport. A lot have second and third jobs to do this" (London INDEPENDENT, 7/31). YAHOO SPORTS' Martin Rogers noted U.S. race walker Maria Michta "gave a heartfelt and eloquent description of how the regulations have affected her." Michta wrote on her personal blog, "I have no big brand corporate sponsor who gives me free gear, pays me a salary and gives me a bonus for making it to events like the Olympics. My sponsors are my family, my friends, my high school community, the family of race walkers around the country. My sponsor bonus comes from each and every dollar thrown in my bucket, every donation on my website. Those are the sponsors that I represent." She added, "Because of rules like Rule 40 and others I could not use the image of myself at Olympic Trials or the title U.S. Olympian in any pictures, posts or tweets to fundraise money to help pay for my travel expenses and get my family ... over to London to watch me compete" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/30).

    RAISE YOUR VOICE: In N.Y., Ken Belson cited advertising experts as saying that the issue has "created attention precisely because the Summer Olympics occur once every four years." Social media outlets like Twitter "have given athletes and by extension their sponsors a voice that they did not have before." In sports like track and field, the Olympics "are one of the best opportunities for athletes to reach a global audience." Chicago-based ad agency Tris3ct President Tim Nelson said the restrictions are “30 days every four years, but the athletes are living 365 days, and they’re not going to derail their long-term relationships." But Nelson asked, “Without the Olympics, would track and field be commercially viable?" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/31). In K.C., Sam Mellinger writes the athletes' point "is impossible to argue against, except with the kind of corporate greed that’s especially offensive coming from an International Olympics Committee that pretends to be so pure." Mellinger: "The athletes can’t put sponsor stickers on their uniforms? Fine. But for the IOC to prohibit them from thanking sponsors on personal social media accounts? Richards-Ross is being polite when she calls it 'an injustice.' Here, we see the IOC exposed as a cold goliath actively limiting its already volunteer workforce’s ability to make ends meet" (K.C. STAR, 7/31).

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  • Poll Shows Britons Are Becoming More Positive On Olympics Since Friday's Opening Ceremony

    One poll said 50% of people now believe the Games will be worth $14.B price tag

    A skeptical British public "has become much more positive about the London Olympics since the spectacular opening ceremony on Friday night," according to a poll cited by Grice & Taylor of the London INDEPENDENT. ComRes found that 50% of people "now believe the Olympics will be worth" the US$14.6B in public money being spent on the event, while 42% disagree and 8% are "don't knows." The upswing in support for the Games "comes as officials insist that they have a handle on the empty seats problem during the first few days of competition." Opinion on the Games "has turned round since ComRes tested support in March, when only 40 per cent of people thought the Games would be worth it and 51 per cent disagreed" (London INDEPENDENT, 7/31).

    WELCOME TO LONDON: In London, Peter Dominiczak notes over 2 million visitors "have arrived in London to support the Games, making it the biggest crowd event in the city's history." About 1.5 million turned out "over the weekend to free events across the capital while 500,000 paid to attend sports at Olympic venues." Well over 1 million fans "lined the streets during the weekend’s cycling road races." Hundreds of thousands also "flocked to Olympic Live sites including those at Hyde Park, Victoria Park, Trafalgar Square and Potter’s Field at City Hall, where they could watch the sport on giant screens." The Hyde Park live site is "expected to be packed today, with as many as 80,000 people in the park."  Games officials said that about 50,000 spectators "are expected at the equestrian event" (London INDEPENDENT, 7/31).

    QUIET TIME: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Sonne & Whalen note Britons for months have been "bracing for Olympic gridlock to descend on their capital." But a few days into the games, a "different reality has emerged: Central London is pretty quiet." Of the "million or so visitors and commuters on a normal day, many avoided the city." Some Londoners "have gone on vacation." The "upshot has been veritable quiet in much of the British capital so far" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/31).

    MIND THE GAP: In London, Kevin Rawlinson notes many of the Games lanes "have been reopened to the public after officials such as International Olympics Committee chief Jacques Rogge opted to take buses and trains instead." London Mayor Boris Johnson admitted that "'a lot' of the sections of road were not needed this morning." He said, “Actually, we’ve been able to turn off a lot of the Games lanes because so many people are going by public transport." However, a spokesperson for Johnson confirmed that the reopening "was not permanent." A decision on "whether to open sections of the network to the public will be taken each day, subject to the level of demand for them, leaving the possibility open that each of those reopened today could be closed off again tomorrow" (London INDEPENDENT, 7/31).

    SIGNS, SIGNS EVERYWHERE SIGNS? In Portland, John Canzano wrote the Olympics "have been surprising, and fun, and rich with good stories and big moments." But if "we're nitpicking, there hasn't been good signage here." What signage "they do have is very small" (OREGONLIVE.com, 7/30).

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  • Olympic Media Notes: Some Newspapers Cut Back On Staff Sent To London

    Blogger Ed Sherman reported due to economic changes, major newspapers no longer automatically "send an army of staffers to cover an Olympics." The Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer "initially decided [to] skip the trip" to London and "returned the five credentials issued to the papers." However, columnist Phil Sheridan was sent "at the last minute." Daily News Exec Sports Editor Josh Barnett said, "It's exclusively a financial decision." The St. Paul Pioneer-Press made the "same decision, electing not to send a staffer." Pioneer-Press Senior Sports Editor Mike Bass: "With the size of staff we have, these are the decisions we have to make all the time." Meanwhile, Sherman noted the L.A. Times "isn't cutting back," as it has 13 staffers in London. USA Today also is "applying full-court treatment." USA Today Sports Media Group Senior VP/Content & Editor-in-Chief Dave Morgan said the publication's staff is 84 in total. Sherman noted that is "up from 60 in Beijing" (SHERMANREPORT.com, 7/30).

    VISION OF LONDON: The GUARDIAN's Robert Booth noted NBC has "built sets to match" the Games' "iconic" London backdrops. The primetime evening set "is modelled on a long-ago gentleman's library." There is "faux wood panelling, walnut desks, lead crystal decanters and sepia portraits of Victorian ladies." It is a "vision of Britain familiar to generations of US tourists, but the antithesis of the image LOCOG has tried to project with its neon colour schemes and graffiti-style 2012 logo." The daytime studio "is fresher and features a 28-screen video wall" (GUARDIAN, 7/30).

    LET'S SEE THAT AGAIN: The GUARDIAN's Josh Halliday noted the Opening Ceremony "racked up 1.7 million viewing requests on the BBC iPlayer since Saturday, setting a new record for the corporation's online catchup service." The BBC said that there "had been 925,000 iPlayer requests to view the opening ceremony on Saturday alone, from people who either missed Friday's opening extravaganza or simply wanted to replay the occasion." The Queen's "surprise acting debut alongside" Daniel Craig as James Bond has "so far been viewed 650,000 times on the BBC's YouTube channel" (GUARDIAN, 7/30).

    Print | Tags: Olympics, BBC Sports, NBC
  • Olympic Names In The News

    Hollande said he will consider a bid from Paris for the '24 Olympic Games

    The AP's Samuel Petrequin noted French President Francois Hollande is "considering a bid for the 2024 Olympics" after losing the '12 Games to London. Hollande said that he "would back a bid if 'all the conditions of success are present.'" France "ruled out a bid for the 2020 Olympics after Annecy lost the 2018 Winter Games to Pyeongchang, South Korea." Hollande "did not mention a city, but France is expected to consider a bid from Paris" for the '24 Summer Games. That would "coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 1924 Olympics in the French capital" (AP, 7/30).

    GOING SOLO: SB Nation's Bomani Jones said U.S. women's soccer team G Hope Solo should not be penalized for her tweets about NBC's Brandi Chastain because “being obnoxious alone is (not) something that should get you disciplined.” Jones: “Hope Solo over the years seems to have a really interesting tendency to make these things wind up being about Hope Solo and not the team that she’s on” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 7/30). CBS' Jim Rome said of Solo, “If anybody’s ruining it for the fans, it’s you for cracking a commentator simply doing her job, said nothing inflammatory and is still beloved within the sport.” Rome: “Forget hitting mute, your fans are going to hit ‘Unfollow’” (“Rome,” CBS Sports Network, 7/30). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon: “Solo is a raging egomaniac now who doesn’t know anything about the role of the commentator, but she will in three years when she gets cut and she’s in a TV studio” (“PTI,” ESPN, 7/30). SPORTING NEWS' Brian Straus wrote under the header, "Women’s Soccer Tourney All About Hope Solo, Just As Hope Solo Wanted” (SPORTINGNEWS.com. 7/30).

    CLIENT ATTENTION:
    AM LAW DAILY's Brian Baxter noted attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who left Dewey & LeBoeuf for Winston & Strawn in May, is "headed to London on Thursday" to see South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius "race for the first time." Dewey defended Pistorius in '08 "amid his attempt to qualify to compete in the 400-meter dash at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing." Kessler also will "be on hand to see U.S. sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross, who he is representing in a litigation and arbitration dispute with a sponsor." She is also married to Jaguars CB Aaron Ross, "whose agent is Kessler's son Andrew." Kessler said, "I have never had the experience before of having one, let alone three, clients and friends competing in the Olympics. So this is an event I simply could not miss." Baxter noted that tally "leaves out some of Kessler's clients," including Team USA men's basketball players F Carmelo Anthony and G Chris Paul (AMERICANLAWYER.com, 7/30).

    FIRST MOM: In Denver, Mark Kiszla asked, "Is Michelle Obama running for Team Mom of the U.S. basketball team?" Kiszla wrote, "Here's a minor complaint: Don't NBA stars already get enough love? And what does an Olympic fencer or archer have to do to get a hug?" The presence of Obama Sunday for Team USA's victory over France "was a reminder that the country's eyes are fixed on NBA stars whose mission is gold or bust" (DENVER POST, 7/30).

    CASHING IN: In London, Hough, Furness & Magnay report performers from the Opening Ceremony are "'cashing in' on their moment in history by selling props and costumes online for thousands of pounds." Volunteers have "placed a variety of items on eBay" for as much as US$7,838. While Games officials insisted that they "were happy that any props 'go to a good home' other performers labelled the decision as 'crass,' 'disrespectful' and not in the spirit of the Friday night’s performance" (London TELEGRAPH, 7/31).

    MISSING THE MARK? In Toronto, Mark Zwolinski noted more than 60 statues of Olympics mascots Wenlock and Mandeville "are scattered throughout London, and judging from reaction on the streets, there’s confusion as to what the mascots are, let alone what they are trying to represent." Rather than the "animal or toy themes of most mascots," Wenlock and Mandeville "appear like probes or robots." CFL Toronto Argonauts Dir of Education Programs Jason Colero said, "When I first saw it, I didn’t quite know what it was to be honest. And if you have to have someone explain it, then you might miss the entire thing ... that’s the big challenge with mascots" (TORONTO STAR, 7/30).

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  • What's Trending From London: NBC Panned With Unflattering Hashtag

    On the fifth day of the London Games, much of the buzz on Twitter remains around NBC’s TV and online coverage. Many critical of the net are tweeting with the accompanying #NBCFail. USA Today’s official Twitter feed posted, “Another #NBCfail: The network spoils itself again with a nighttime promo on Missy Franklin.” CNN’s Piers Morgan wrote, “Ryan Lochte's mother, Ike, just told me she'd like NBC to air his races LIVE, then again in Primetime.” Author Steve Weinstein: “Live tweeting Olympic events that took place 12 hours ago feels quite meta. Or Orwellian. Or completely lame. Thanks #NBCfail.” Bleacher Report’s Dan Levy tweeted, “I don't know how I'm watching a stream of the Spain basketball game that says ‘LIVE’ but I read tweets of final score. Is live subjective?” Meanwhile, Deadspin’s Timothy Burke wrote, “Aside: As critical as I've been of coverage on broadcast NBC, the NBC Sports Network coverage has been outstanding.”

    Other Olympic tweets of interest:

    Sports broadcasting agent Debbie Spander: “seriously #MissyFranklin is already the breakout star of #Olympics. I expect #Wheaties box.”

    Baker Street Advertising Exec VP & Creative Dir Bob Dorfman: “2 feet could cost Jordyn Wieber a million bucks. Floor exercise misstep means no shot at all-around gold & mktg riches that go with.”

    The London Times’ Ashling O’Connor: “Olympics attendance figs: Sat 856,000 (86% capacity), Sun 900,000 (92%), Mon 370,000 (88%).”

    NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper: “And, yes, as some have noted, I should probably say my farewells before the Twitter police have me removed from the premises.”

    Golf.com’s David Dusek: “By the time the Olympic tennis competition is done, I might, MIGHT be used to seeing colorful clothes on Wimbledon's grass. #sieod”

    CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla: “Regarding empty seats @ #Olympics, we know of at least 1 hedge-fund mgr and 1 head of state (whom you'd know) who couldn't get tix.” 

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  • Medal Stand: General Electric Pass $1B Mark In Infrastructure Sales

    Each day during the Summer Games, THE DAILY offers our take on the business performances of some of the people, sponsors, broadcasters and other entities around London.

    MEDAL
    MEDALIST
     

    GOLD: GE -- General Electric, an official Olympic sponsor since ‘05, announced Monday that it has exceeded $1B in infrastructure sales over the past four Olympic Games, which includes $100M in lights, power supplies and other equipment for the London Games. That is a lot of light bulbs, not to mention a successful partnership.

    SILVER: MISSY FRANKLIN -- Though she is maintaining her amateur status during these Games so she can compete in college, Franklin has been promoted by NBC throughout the buildup to London as one of the female faces of the Games. The 17 year old certainly delivered in her first individual event last night, winning the 100-meter backstroke.

     

    BRONZE: THE OLYMPIC PARK -- Contrary to four years ago, London’s Olympic Park has been open, welcoming and a fun, party atmosphere. Organizers did a nice job with the park’s planning and layout, and sponsors have to be pleased with the crowds it is drawing.

     

    TIN: “TODAY” SHOW PROMO -- NBC spoiled the results of Franklin’s victory when it ran a “Today” show promo 10 minutes before her race that mentioned her win. We understand that mistakes happen, but if you are going to offer tape-delayed coverage in primetime and have everyone from Bob Costas on down working to build the drama, a mistake of this degree is unacceptable.

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  • Check Out The Latest Headlines From London At SBD/SBJ's Olympic Site

    SportsBusiness Daily/SportsBusiness Journal has launched a free website exclusively geared to the Summer Games that will feature news, video, blogs and much more from London. See the site today for the following news:

    NBC releases more Olympic ad inventory after solid ratings start
     
    Citi pleased with early results, will weigh extending USOC deal
     
    Catching Up With: Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball chairman
     
    Panel at GE event addresses city changes, legacy of an Olympics
     
    London's open, welcoming Olympic Park filling with visitors
     
    Tripp Mickle Blog: London's tube: Don't sweat it, it's a world away from Beijing
     
    John Ourand's Blog: In what's been a pleasant surprise, traffic issues are nonexistent

    Meanwhile, see today’s issue of SBD Global for the following stories you may have missed:

    The Irish FA named Danske Bank as the new title sponsor of the Premiership, changing the name to the Danske Bank Premiership that will kick off on Aug. 11

     
    Paris St.-Germain and marketing agency Sportfive have ended their exclusive sales collaboration
     
    A new survey of sports fans showed the Chinese "have an appetite for all things athletic," as Chinese sports fans average 11.7 hours a week viewing sports. Brazil and the U.S. are second and third, respectively, with 10.4 hours and 8.1 hours a week.
     
    Digital media company Perform Group has acquired a majority stake in Mackolik Internet Hizmetleri Ticaret A.S., which owns a number of Turkey's leading independent sports websites including mackolik.com and sahadan.com. Perform is acquiring an initial 51% stake in the company for US$22.6M.

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