Sunday, August 17, 2008

Is beach volleyball the most popular sport in the world?

OK, so the Olympic Games in Beijing, China are about half over. See my China preview here.

The two major conclusions I have come to from tuning in to GE TV (NBC) so far are:
  • Michael Phelps is an unbelievable Olympic athlete the likes of which we won't see again in a long time if ever
  • Beach volleyball must be the most important, popular and entertaining sport in the entire world
On this second point, how else can you explain that every time you turn on a broadcast of the Games day or night huge chunks of time are filled up showing beach volleyball matches like Austria vs. Latvia, Australia vs. China and...most often of all, oh how painfully often...the US women's team vs. anybody?

Is it really just as simple as NBC feels that the American masses want to see scantily clad men and women (especially scantily clad women) athletes bouncing around on the sand? Or, similarly, do they KNOW that's what Americans want to watch and can charge the highest advertising rates for adverts during that coverage?

Hey, I think volleyball is a cool sport, and clearly the athletes involved in beach volleyball deserve all the credit for doing so well. But come on. Instead of the incessant beach volleyball coverage, lets see some other stuff - ping pong, shooting, more track and field, diving, soccer, regular volleyball, water polo, etc.

In the end, it's a shame that NBC feel coverage needs to be calibrated to continually meet the most base instincts of humanity (sex) rather than the higher minded beliefs (competition) that the Olympics are supposed to be about.

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