NBC forced to pull plug on boxing coverage after commentators disrupt ringside judges
Saturday, 11 August 2012
August 11 - NBC, one of the biggest financial backers of the Olympics, was made to stop its ringside boxing commentary following complaints that it was disrupting officials here.
NBC was the only broadcaster allowed to commentate from the ringside floor before the International Boxing Association (AIBA) put a halt to it, recommending to London 2012 that its leaves its position.
The American giant was granted an alternative space with the other media commentating on the bout but chose not to take it.
The controversy is reported to have centred around commentators Bob Papa and Teddy Atlas.
"NBC commentators were offered a booth in the media tribune, like other broadcasters, because they were very disturbing for AIBA officials – even during bouts [in which] they were not broadcasting – being located at the edge of the field of play," said an AIBA spokesman.
"They claimed that since no boxers from the USA were still in the running they didn't want to stay anyway."
NBC denied its commentary team had left the venue for this reason and that it would be addressing the matter with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
"That is inaccurate and we will be calling the remaining bouts for the US television audience as planned," said NBC in a statement.
"There are two sides to every story.
"We'll address the matter with the IOC after the Games conclude."
AIBA confirmed NBC cameramen had stayed on to record footage at the arena and London 2012's remaining fights would now be commentated on from New York.
Last year, NBC agreed to a $4.38 billion (£2.66 billion/€323 million) contract with the IOC to broadcast the Games in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 – the most expensive television rights deal in Olympic history.
It has so far appeared a good investment as it has attracted record audiences for these Olympics by tape-delaying marquee events, such as the men's 100 metres final, in order to air them American prime-time slots.
NBC chairman Mark Lazarus said London 2012's tape-delayed peak-time ratings had topped the live prime-time viewing figures for Beijing 2008.
However, a small but vocal group of critics have stormed Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels decrying the network's delayed broadcasts, technical glitches with online streaming, heavy promotions and cast of commentators.
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