Saturday, December 5, 2015

My Pan Am Coverage Rant

I often have rants, but don't like to share them. My blog is called Olympic Hearts because I want to share what I love, but there are times when I get upset and need to rant.

I haven't blogged much in the past few months. I am trying to catch up on posts I started and posts I meant to write. Looking at my drafts, I found this post that I wrote on the first weekend of the Pan Am Games.

I understand why I didn't post it at the time. There was so much criticism of the Pan Am Games that I didn't want to add to it, but as the Games continued, the love of the Games really shone through which I was really happy about.

So now that the haters have hopefully left the building so to speak and the only people who would be reading this are the supporters, here's how I was feeling as the Pan Am Games began. An update also follows.

written on Sunday July 12th

Have you been watching the Pan Am Games?

I am arguably one of the biggest fans of the Pan Am Games. I am so excited that they are in my city and that I get to see the Games in person. I would go every day if I could afford it, but I thought at least if I can't be there, I will watch it on television or on livestream.

The Pan Am Games is the "biggest multi-sport event" Canada has ever hosted so the coverage will match its size right?

Well, we're on Day 2 of competition and I have to admit that sometimes it's better to not expect too much. My expectations were very high for the Pan Am Games, and I have to admit that my expectations are not being met.

I had a list of things I wanted to see. Sometimes it fit my schedule or my budget to get a ticket, other times it didn't.

The problem presented itself quite quickly in the first competition of the Games. I wanted to go to the women's triathlon, but going to the Opening Ceremony the night before, I chose to get a ticket to the men's triathlon first and waited for the women's which sold out before I made a decision.

I was SO happy for the athletes that the event was sold out and thought, that's okay, I'll watch it from home.

What do you mean it's not livestreamed? Isn't there 750 hours of coverage? That sounds like a lot, but maybe it's not?

I wanted to see the rugby and was shocked to read this tweet.

You can read the article here.

Over the past few years, rugby is often livestreamed but this event had more meaning to me so I thought I would be even more interested in watching our women and men's teams. Luckily since this article, the decision has been made to add rugby to the livestream (or announce it if that was always the plan) so rugby fans are lucky but that's not the case for other sports.

I would love to see our rowing and canoe/kayak teams. I hesitated to get tickets because of the early starts (9am/10am) and locations (90-120 minutes from my home without traffic) worrying about traffic during the Games.

Familiar words - "no problem". I'll go see these events when the new venues host Canadian Championships or World Cups in the future (I had already seen canoe/kayak sprint competitions in Welland). I'll watch the Pan Am Games at home.

What do you mean I can't watch them from home?

Our women K-4 won the Games' first gold medal and all I saw was the last 10 seconds of their race. Will it be the same when our TORONTO 2015 flag bearer Mark Oldershaw races? Or our Olympic flag bearer and Olympic multi-medallist Adam van Koeverden?

I'll give the TORONTO 2015 and CBC the benefit of the doubt and hope they will have cameras for the last two days of canoe/kayak. There was only one final on the first day when we won our first gold medal.

I wanted to see as much as possible of the competitions.  Saturday, I had plans to watch the livestream starting at 11am then switch to television at 1pm.

There were 20 sports in action on Saturday. I watched the synchronized duets on livestream and had hoped to see some of the other 20 sports on the television coverage. Imagine my disappointment when the television coverage replayed what had been livestreamed. First the diving preliminaries from the previous day (why? they would show the final that evening) and then the synchronized duet.

The women's K4 race lasted 1minute 36 seconds, yet they didn't show the full race.

I wasn't deterred, I went back to the livestream at 2:30pm for the men's gymnastics and the synchronized swimming team free routine and at 6pm for the diving finals. At 7pm, it's time for the prime time show and you guessed it. They're showing what I watched on the livestream.

They showed the end of Tory Nyhaug's BMX winning race (which wasn't livestreamed). I have seen the full race on another channel, so it's not because it wasn't televised.

I understand that there won't be much coverage of a shooting medal. There isn't during the Olympics but I believed that there would be coverage for the major Olympic sports (kayak, rowing, triathlon) and that they have coverage of the medal performances.

I was wrong.

I'm seeing more coverage on CBC Newsworld than the CBC Pan Am coverage. I had CBC Newsworld on TV in the background while I watched the livestream. They would switch to events as medals were won.

Scott Russell is a champion of amateur sports. He loves our athletes. How does he feel about the coverage that we are giving to our athletes, their families and their fans? He just said (on CBC Newsworld), tonight we'll see roller speed skating...but will we? or does he mean the people at the venue will see?

Sunday we won 16 medals. There was 2.5 hours of coverage on CBC. Here's what they showed:
  • 60 minutes diving preliminaries (to determine order for evening final)
  • 80 minutes artistic gymnastics (no Canada - they were in the group that would perform in the evening)
  • 4 minutes triathlon (two 2 minute segments - basically same coverage)
  • 2 minutes mountain bike (two 1 minute segments - last 4 seconds of the race where Canada won gold and silver - no mountain or trees shown in the coverage)
  • 2 minutes rugby (two 1 minute segments)
  • 3 minutes basketball interview
  • less than 1 minute - kayak
Why show diving preliminaries and non-Canada gymnastics for over two hours when the coverage is only two and a half hours?  Why not show a variety of sports and get people excited to go see them? There are so many sports that I haven't seen any coverage of.

If I had been in charge of the Pan Am Games coverage, you would have seen coverage of all the sports, especially the ones we medalled in. You wouldn't have seen hours of preliminaries of what CBC decided were "popular" sports. I was going to add that I would have gotten a lot of complaints if I had shown archery or badminton (that aren't as popular)  but I can't imagine that the viewers were that thrilled to be watching Diving Preliminaries or Artistic Gymnastics where Canada wasn't participating.

******end of July rant

I now have to add that the coverage did improve which is possibly another reason that I didn't post this rant.

Now that a few months have passed, I have to admit that there were only so many hours in the day. I was recording hours upon hours of coverage that I didn't have time to watch with the livestream I was watching and events I was attending. My PVR was at capacity.

I made the mistake of not recording events I was interested in because the livestream events were also available on demand. I didn't expect them to disappear from the website as early as they did.

In the end, I think I learned this summer that my interest for Olympic and Pan Am sports exceeds the number of hours that I can devote to them. Livestream takes a lot longer to watch than highlight shows like CBC Sports Weekend (now called Road to the Olympic Games). Growing up, I could have watch CBC on Saturday afternoon and in a few hours gotten the content of a dozen hours of livestream.  The only difference was that when I was growing up, we didn't have the internet to tell us the results so it was like watching it live.

This afternoon I watched CBC Road to the Olympic Games and luckily had the remote handy to fast forward (and close my eyes) when they started talking about the men's Super-G that was going to be shown a couple of hours later on Sportsnet 360. I understand that they want to cover all the sports highlights of the day but to spoil the result of a program that will be televised?

I have to admit that this is one of the things I love about my website. No I don't have live coverage, but I do acknowledge coverage from various sources. 

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