We’re talking real money. The 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City cost $2 billion to produce. The 2006 edition in Turin, Italy, cost $4.1 billion. Four years later, in Vancouver, the bill was $8 billion. Wikipedia says the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, was originally budgeted at $12 billion, a 50 percent jump up from $8 billion. Outrageous but acceptable.
Incredibly, the cost of Sochi has risen to $51 billion and counting, a number larger than the nominal gross domestic product of 108 countries. The magnitude of theft-payoffs-kickbacks is legendary, will be remembered for as long as criminals sit around a campfire and tell stories of the Big Score.
But, mere theft — make that mere colossal theft — won’t spoil my fun, because it’s that time again. Yes, indeed, once every four years I’ll watch insanely skinny children put on ice skates and glide around an ice rink. Which is not as easy as it sounds. One has to endure NBC’s tape delays and sit through every kind of commercial and network promotion the mind of man can contrive.
And since NBC is streaming every second of it, from biathlon to skeleton, be comforted to know you’ll have the opportunity to experience every smarmy personal story of every athlete on all your devices. None will be left behind.
Expect more than 1500 hours of coverage across six NBCUniversal front corporations (NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, MSNBC, USA Network, nbcolympics.com) and more than 1000 hours of live streaming coverage. The entity that owns these companies expects to earn $1 billion from the games. They’ll have 900-plus employees at ground zero. In fact, they’re there now, and they’re hungry.
In happy news, the entity known as NBC Olympics will team with Facebook and, in the mealymouth words of its president Gary Zenkel, “...driving viewership to our multi-platform coverage, we will use our unique access to all aspects of the Sochi Games to ignite the Olympic conversation and engagement on Facebook.”
One wonders, what the fuck does that mean?
Variety reports, “As part of the agreement, the two companies will devise ways to use NBCU’s Olympics content on Facebook to spark chatter about the Games and NBC’s coverage of them. NBC will for the first time debut feature video content on Facebook.”
That’s exciting. That’s chatter. That’s social media. And that’s important to young people. We love young people.
So, stop by nbcolympics.com and set yourself up for streaming the games on your computer and all your devices. They’ll want to know the name of your cable company, and there’s a list of cable companies longer than anyone reading this can imagine. If you have cable TV, you’re on that list. And you don’t necessarily have to have cable TV; I don’t, but I do have cable internet. Apparently, that’s good enough.
Therefore, prepare your iPhone, Android phone, iTouch, iPad, Nexus, Samsung Galaxy, iPad mini, iMac, Windows computer, automobile, refrigerator, and lawn mower. Charge up and stand by.
Still, there is one nagging question: Is NBCUniversal really going for Olympic gold? Have they sucked up every last penny that can be sucked?
I think not. What about Google Glass? Why can’t I watch the Olympics on my Google Glass while driving to work? Or at work? Or in the shower?
How about streaming that 1000 hours of live coverage to my personal drone? My drone would circle overhead and follow me wherever I go, relaying Olympic video all the while. Do that and — bingo — FREEDOM FROM COVERAGE POVERTY!
How about streaming the Olympics to my license plates? Senate Bill 806 was signed into law last fall. California will begin a pilot program testing electronic license plates. These cute little computer screens will not only let the NSA — and every police agency with an internet connection — know where your car is every moment of every day, but will allow the DMV to take your money and update your registration without ever having to see your face. Bureaucratic heaven. So, go ahead, take a drive up and down I-805 and watch the Olympics. No one will mind if you tailgate.
Then there’s a generic iWatch. Keep track of every Olympic detail wearing Google Glass and somebody’s iWatch while hosting your child’s birthday pool party.
Finally, there’s this outlandish device... You can take it anywhere within a 40-mile radius of downtown San Diego. If you like, you can run it on batteries, no cords, hands free. If you want cords, there are cords that will plug this device into your car’s power outlet/cigarette lighter. The Olympics are free to watch. No charge, watch all you want. This could be the next big thing. I believe they call it a portable television device.