It's become a nightly thing since the start of the Olympic Games. There has not been a single night that I haven't received a text message, instant message, email or phone call with premature Olympics results.
Even tonight while at the grocery store I couldn't avoid it. While at the checkout lane I bump into a buddy who was banging away on his Blackberry and looked up with a big smile and said, "Phelps just won his 7th Gold, man". Of course NBC wouldn't air this event in my time zone for another 2 hours. Look, I understand that when the Olympics take place on the other side of the world, it's not going to make for the best TV viewing times. But China and the IOC have bent over backwards to try and schedule key events at often strange times locally so they can be seen live in more TV markets. Almost every single big swimming final took place before lunch time in Beijing so that we Americans could watch live during our normal prime time window. The only problem with this? You only get to see it live on the east coast. Even though most of these swimming finals are happening between 6 and 8PM in the Western and Pacific times zones, those folks aren't getting to see them live. So if you have friends who live east of you or happen to check Olympic results on the computer you are bound to see news you didn't even know had happened yet.
I can hear the responses already. "You can't make everyone happy, it's not possible to show it to everything live". And for the most part, I agree. But was it really necessary to air a volleyball match that was hours old to viewers out west as Phelps was winning his record tying 7th Gold in controversial fashion, live everywhere else in the world?
We live in a world of instant gratification. Between cell phones, PDA's and wireless web access, people have almost continuous access to information. The world is an ever evolving and increasingly global environment. With DVR's and online web streams becoming more and more prevalent, people can tap into media events no matter where they happen to be. It's time to bring TV into the new age. There is more out there than the 7-10 prime time window, folks. Let us see our heroes live, even if it's not in a traditional time slot.
The internet already stands poised to steal our attention and our time away from TV if not replace it entirely in the years to come. Why give people more motivation to switch by insisting on airing things when it's convenient and more profitable for the network as opposed to letting us decide for ourselves?
Air it live, please.. If we aren't home when it happens, there is always TiVo.