Time Zone, Olympic Athletes Team for NBC Ratings Gold

If you had to sum up this year’s Summer Olympics in Beijing in one word, that word might be: “zone”—as in compelling performances from athletes performing in the “zone” and competitions that took place—LIVE—thanks to a forgiving time “zone” half way across the globe from television audiences here in the U.S. The Associated Press sums it all up beautifully in this article.

Due to the 12-hour time difference between China and our country, which allowed for daytime competitions to be broadcast live to American audiences in primetime, NBC averaged more than 27 million viewers a night; more than 39 million for Michael Phelps’ final gold medal relay run. All amazing numbers—especially in an era of multiple cable outlets and the world wide web.

With a wealth of live events available for coverage, NBC wisely stuck to the athletes in action. The banter and perspectives of Bob Costas and other “talking heads” was kept to a minimum, in turn, complementing the telecasts.

The end result: incredible feats of athleticism covered with aplomb by one of the grand daddys of the medium.