NBC notes that its viewership is down 22 percent since Nagano in 1998. At the same time, the World Series is down 21 percent, and the Academy Awards down 27 percent proof that big events in general have less pull than they used to, the network said.
On a side note, could the decline in Academy Awards viewership have anything to do with Hollywood producing crap?
One part of the decline is blamed on the fact that there are more channels to choose from, which seems to admit that competition is bad for NBC.
During the last summer Olympics I seem to remember that they couldn't get NBA players to play because of fear of terrorism, fear of injuries, and general laziness. Some players did play, but for other countries teams. That infuriated me, not as a basketball fan, (I'm not) but as an American. These guys would be playing in their driveway (if they had one) in front of their mud huts (if they had one) if they didn't have the opportunities they got in the United States.
The Salt Lake City games were unusually good for NBC. Domestic Olympics typically fare better in the ratings than foreign ones, there was a surge of patriotism following the 2001 terrorist attacks and NBC was the top-rated network, meaning the competition was less fearsome.
Could the fact that it isn't being shown live be the key here? You can check the results on the internet before they air, unless you heard the results on the news already.
Speaking of patriotism, we have American figure skater Johnny Weir wearing a jacket emblazoned with CCCP, the Cyrillic equivalent of USSR - the Soviet Union. Contrast this with the Miracle on Ice.
Then there is the fact that several athletes have already been kicked out for cheating.
To me, the whole Olympics thing just reeks of United Nations. And we all know how popular the UN is. America hasn't been well served by the rest of the world lately, and maybe a lot of folks are just saying screw the whole spirit of competition thing.
On another side note, The Nose on Your Face notes an historic occurance.
The only thing standing between the Israelis and the Iranians having a go at each other during the opening ceremonies was a relatively small contingent of athletes from Ireland. This of course marks the first time in history that a group of Irishmen have served to prevent a fight.