Monday, October 30, 2006

Cheap Euros Whine, Complain About Peking Games Schedule Changes

The Enemy Press AP reports in the Short Pants Media USA Today that "The European Broadcasting Union protested the IOC's decision to hold some Olympic swimming and gymnastic finals during the morning at the 2008 Beijing Games." It seems that NBC, who purchased the rights for a series of Olympic Games, requested the time changes so that certain events would be broadcast in prime time in America.

Unfortunately for the whiny Euros, it means their broadcasts would take place late at night. Instead of vigorously defending the current schedule, they take the increasingly predictable European way and cry about it. "The EBU said it told the IOC the decision meant 'viewers in Europe as well as the vast majority of the global TV audience will be disadvantaged.' (sob....) The EBU describes itself as the largest professional association of national broadcasters in the world, with 74 active members in 54 countries of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, and 44 associate members in 25 other countries. It negotiates broadcasting rights for major sports events on behalf of its members and operates the Eurovision and Euroradio networks." OK then, the size of your broadcasting area and members should determine when events are held?

Back in the real world, we know the only size that matters to the IOC is the size of your wallet. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports another Enemy Press AP story about the proposed schedule changes and we get a little bit more info about the participating wallets, er, broadcasters. "NBC paid $3.5 billion to televise the five Olympics from 2000 through 2008. That's more than double than what is contributed by the next biggest rights holders, in Europe, and a compelling reason for the IOC to go along with a few of NBC's requests." A few of NBC's requests. Not all of them. "In fact, NBC also wanted more track and basketball at prime time in the United States, but the IOC decided track and field finals, except for the marathon, will be held at night, while the men's basketball gold medal game will be in the afternoon." See, the whole Olympics Movement wasn't ruined because money talks. They weak Euros only make references to tradition when it suits their argument. Too bad for them, but money trumps all traditions when it come to the IOC.

We can get an idea of the differential in payment to secure broadcast rights for various countries. Canada, a nation of approximately 33 million people, paid $45 million dollars to broadcast the Peking Olympics, according to CTV. Australia seems set to pay over $130 million to broadcast the 2010 Winter Games and the 2012 London games for a country with a population of over 20 million people. The US population has just gone over 300 million and NBC paid $3.5 billion as seen above. Europe on the other hand has a population of over 700 million yet paid a measly $750 million for the same rights as NBC, according to the Sidney Morning Herald.

These actions are symptomatic of the decline of the once great civilization there. They moan and complain about things yet never seem to take action themselves to do anything about it. Don't like the changes? Pony up more money. The Euros see themselves as some kind of Khrushchevian colossus that will economically rule the world. Too bad many of them don't seem to want to give up their leisure to, you know, actually work. You want the benefits of the Olympics, you gotta pay for 'em.

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