CTV’s Olympics Coverage the Worst Ever, Does it Even Matter?

In the social media era complaining is easy to do. Look at all those complaining about NBC’s tape delayed coverage of the Olympics. An American medallist will trend instantly, hours before their event reaches American homes. It is also easier to complain about live coverage here in Canada. But does it really matter?

Just in comments on this blog alone I’ve heard everything from [name of announcer] sucks, CTV’s coverage is the worst ever (hard to say that unless you can remember CBC’s coverage of 17 hours in Rome 1960, but I digress), CTV’s announcers are amateurs (hey, like the athletes were supposed to be), Joanne Malar sounds like a sheep (I actually get this one), and I can’t find [name of sport] anywhere on TV. Those are all real complaints. Some quite valid, some not so much. Is CTV’s Olympic coverage the worst ever? Doubtful. I’d take 18 hours a day over 1 hour a day (ala CBC in Rome) anytime. Is it worse than CBC? In some aspects surely. Is it worse than NBC? Hardly. Could they do better? Probably.

However, I don’t think it really matters. Just as fast as records are broken in the pool and at the velodrome, CTV is setting record audiences for a Summer Olympics. An average of 6.4 million Canadians tuned in for the Opening Ceremony, about 50% more than the CBC’s previous high (4.3 million for Atlanta 1996). Of course the London Opening Ceremony was earlier in the evening than Atlanta. Even with the new way of measuring TV audiences (from 2010 onwards), it is easily the most watched Summer Opening Ceremony in Canadian history.

CTV’s Primetime coverage is averaging around 2 million viewers for the first week. That’s also close to 50% higher than CBC’s coverage in Beijng. And remember in Beijing CBC was live from 9pm ET/6pm PT onwards with swimming and gymnastics finals in 2008. There is no live primetime coverage in London.

As long as people tune-in in record numbers, advertisers are going to pay. This is good news not only for CTV, but more importantly CBC, who will broadcast the next two Olympic Games in Canada. It is also good for Canadian summer athletes, who may be able to secure more corporate funding with increased attention.

CTV cares about making money, or at least coming close to breaking even in this case. To make money (or avoid losing it) they need to draw viewers. Many viewers are at least satisfied enough with their coverage to watch in record numbers (there is an alternative in NBC). So, it doesn’t really matter if CTV is showing too many ads. Too much studio talk, not enough live action (I’ve never had a problem with either, a benefit of 3 channels) or if their coverage is in fact the worst ever. The ratings are the highest ever. And at the end of the Games, they are the one number that matters to Bell and Rogers.

57 thoughts on “CTV’s Olympics Coverage the Worst Ever, Does it Even Matter?

  1. with all these channels showing the events and watching about 6 hours a day, I can say honestly say it is the least amount of commericials I have watched compared to any other Olympics. And I have never watched a studio interview yet.

    • I work afternoons and evenings so I have to watch the 4 hour repeat of the evening coverage that is broadcast from midnight to 4 in the morning. I have to say that CTV’s coverage of the London games is the worst ever and I have seen a few. There is an endless presentation of athletes’ stories, then studio interviews and analyzing, then [ what was “the pits” as John Mc Enroe used to say ] the visit to the studio and the interviews of “the duke” and” the prince” or the other way around [the parasites are in the news all year round all the years, why is the precious time wasted on them ?], then visits to the studio by the canadian medal winners, then there is more ranting by the Brian Williams and when he and his guests finally shut up then the commercials come. Of the actual Olympic competition I have seen very little, only the evening news type highlights. Some of them are cut so badly that the proper results are not given. CTV robbed me of watching the Olympic games. They are as bad as NBC. Instead of the Olympics we are presented with the “how is Canada doing” at the games. The Tuesday night/morning was particularly bad. I would like to know how many minutes of the actual sports competitions were actually shown. Just awful, the whole presentation. Give those responsible for this ‘the Order of the dog poo.’

      • The above post by Stan describes my experience to a T. Awful coverage. When more time is given to interviews than actual competition something is wrong. I like the athletes so the odd interview is fine but I don’t need the same platitudes before, immediately after the event and then again in the studio later. And when mom and pop get in the on the act it’s the last straw and I turn off the set.

        I also feel the coverage is too Canada-centric. I know people love to beat their collective breast and rave about how great we are, but it gets to be nauseating after awhile. I’d like to see much more track & field than than some lesser event just because there’s a Canadian involved.

        So, like Stan, my message is “less talk, more action, international action.”

        • Stan and J Bossy, I think you missed the point of the article (if you event read it).

          • If you are happy with the coverage because it sells a lot of ads, good for you. I prefer to dissent.

            • Again, I think you missed the point. Never did I say I was happy with the coverage.

              • OK, so there is no point. Thanks for the insight.

                • Point of the article is that more people are watching 2012 Olympics than previous Games (including 2008). If people didn’t like the coverage (or cared how bad it was), they wouldn’t watch. But they are. Therefor, the coverage can’t be as bad as some say it is.

                  This wasn’t an opinion piece on whether I like CTV’s coverage. If you don’t like it, then don’t watch. If you are watching, CTV doesn’t really care if you like their coverage or not.

                  • Then it’s a rather feeble point, isn’t it? My comments are in reply to the head which asks the question: Does it even Matter? I’m saying it does. People watch a lot of abysmal TV just like people cram tons of atrocious fast food down their throats. By the way, Mr. sportsmedia, why aren’t you telling the people on this thread who like the coverage, that they have missed the point since it’s not an opinion piece on whether they like it or not?

                    • Most of them comment regularly. I think they understand what I’m saying. I wasn’t sure you did (and by your replies, you didn’t).

                    • “Most of them comment regularly. I think they understand what I’m saying. I wasn’t sure you did (and by your replies, you didn’t).”

                      What does commenting regularly have to do with it? Maybe it is you who are failing to understand the posts. Most comments are opinions on the quality of the coverage some for some against. But sportsmedia thinks that such opinions miss the point because CTV doesn’t care. Who says they don’t care? It would seem to be canadiansportsmedia who doesn’t care. So really this is an opinion piece after all but it’s disguised as unbiased journalism.

                    • I give up mate.

  2. I don’t really get it. The coverage has been pretty good in my opinion.

  3. It’s true I moaned and complained about the lack of eventing dressage coverage on the first weekend.But from last Monday the coverage of equestrian sport has been superb on the various feeder channels, such as OLN and TSN morning. We saw almost every single rider in dressage,which frankly is amazing.
    I am really very happy indeed about the coverage.
    Having said that, receiving the Canadian Sports Blog Olympic Broadcast Schedule by email on a nightly bass was vital !!!

  4. The coverage has been pretty good, I don’t have a problem with that. What bothers me is the persons commenting on the various events, seem to favour the other countries athletes by the positive things they say, but when it comes to Canada’s athletes, they have so many negative things to say. I am referring to the persons who explain the gymnastics, the cycling, and mainly the diving. Somehow, there is always a negative no matter how good they perform, but for the Russians, the Chinese and the U.S. it is all positive. Sometimes I wonder if these persons are true Canadians. Please examine all your tapes and you will hear. what I hear.

  5. All the people who hate the coverage should come down to the states for a couple nights. I’m in North Carolina during the week, and the tape-delay of big events on NBC is maddening. Thankfully I am home on weekends, so I’ve been able to watch CTV et al. Canadian coverage of events is better if only because it’s live. I think NBC studio shows are better (with all due respect to Brian Williams), but then I dont watch the olympics to see bob costas chat with michael phelps and bela karolyi.

    • I love Al Michaels and Dan Patrick on NBC Daytime. I’ve actually watched a fair bit of NBC’s Daytime coverage this week (while I’m on vacation). Great way to get caught up with early morning action like athletics qualifying and canoeing.

  6. I’ve thought CTV’s coverage is fine. Yes, there’s quite a lot of studio chatter in the evening shows. But so what: I zap over to TSN or Rogers and there’s something there. I actually haven’t watched a second of NBC’s coverage, I’ve enjoyed what’s been on CTV so much.

  7. I have found most who are say its the worst ever are very pro Cbc and in there eyes Bell/Rogers can’t hold a candle to them Cbc could come and say were only going to show 40 hours of the winter games and many pro Cbc would not say one bad thing about that.

  8. I was very happy with the first week, the tennis coverage was by far the best ever. In the past it was treated like a secondary sport with little coverage, but this year it was given coverage like a major sport.

  9. I don’t think you can call the coverage poor… I would call the coverage ‘cheap’ but nothing else.

    – Maybe these colour commentators were hired because they were cheaper then anyone else or CTV didn’t take the time and money to train them and put in more practice events.
    – Not having everyone who is calling events or hosting in London has taken away a bit of the allure of the games. For some reason it doesn’t have the same feeling as if they were there.

    I love the fact if I don’t like the sport being played on CTV I can switch to TSN, Sportsnet (and sometimes OLN.) Even though as a Rogers customer TSN doesn’t come in as HD on my tv without me paying more. I would watch alot more TSN during the games if it came in HD for free (or at least included in my monthly price like CTV, SN & OLN)

    One issue I do have is the fact that SN, TSN & CTV’s Prime time show are basically all the same thing, just at different times. During the day I am able to flip between all three channels to see different content on each channel but at night you have to stick to one channel or you will run into watching the same event over and over again.

    We will have to see what we are all saying in 2 and 4 years from now about the coverage. We just might want CTV to be back broadcasting the games. I think everyone will miss the variety you get with Rogers and Bell broadcasting together.

    • Strongly agree with Kyle’s comment about the primetime shows being basically the same thing. It would be better to have one primetime package (on CTV probably) and replays/extended highlights of key events on the other channels.

      Overall the CTV coverage has been excellent.
      Dedicated HDTV feeds for all the sports venues would be great in the future (on all BDU’s not just Bell). Internet feeds could be more robust and higher resolution.

      There were some football matches I was disappointed not to be able to see but I do get the fact that the olympics gives airtime to sports that do not always get on TV. So I can live with that. Water polo coverage should be increased outside the olympics and Gerry Dobson rewarded for his sterling work with a full-time role.

      14 medals so far for Canada, 22 Gold medals so far for GB, a great olympics!

    • CBC had quite a few of their commentators in Toronto in 2008. Maybe not quite as many as CTV, but still quite a few. TSN’s studio was in Toronto in 2008 and 2012.

      • I guess it helped in 2008 that they didn’t have twitter to spoil the allure of the commentators not being in China.

  10. The show jumping coverage was awful! The same 6 to 10 facts were repeated over and over. If you watched the team event you would have heard all of them already. Play it safe and with out soul. Safe can be boring. Why didn’t anyone get a shot of Tiffany Foster’s horse and it’s “damaged” leg.

  11. I think the Consortium’s coverage of these games have been very good. While there has been glitches and some gaffes in the coverage at times, I love the 3 network concept (CTV, TSN & Sportsnet). I do hope the CBC will reach out to TSN and Sportsnet for 2014 & 2016. While I have enjoyed CBC’s coverage in the past and they do a good job, The consortium has brought it up to another level. I am curious what the Mothercorp will bring for Sochi and Rio.

  12. I would simply like tot have a TV schedule that clearly shows me exactly what is being covered and precisley when….is that so difficult?

  13. I think the coverage has been quite good, you can’t see everything everywhere and there’s nothing wrong with jumping on a plane to be there if you aren’t happy with watching it on T.V.:) One of the issues I’m having, keeping in mind I haven’t caught as much of the coverage as I would like, is all the talk about how wonderful and dedicated the athletes MOTHERS are!!!! Not to bash the mothers but who’s mentioning the dedicated fathers who have done just as much if not more than the mothers. I know a lot of extremely proud and dedicated fathers who put in just as much effort into the supporting their Olympic children. Maybe quite a few honorable mentions would be nice for them too:)

  14. when you can watch 4 women’s field hockey on Monday on OLN; 2 full women’s football matches on SN & TSN; diving on French V; wrestling on OMNI; track & other goodies on CTV and lastly NBC if all 6 networks are in commercial breaks, you can’t ask more.

    But some of the analysts work needs improvement. Compared to CBC, they have been too many rookies that are still close to their former teammates and association that they’re doing cheerleading than analysis.

    And there is still room to show more fencing, handball, badminton, table tennis – at least we saw some action this time vs none.

  15. Where is the live video feed on ctvolympics.ca for the last 2 days??? It was down for almost all of yesterday, & it was down again for the Women’s bronze medal match. Pathetic CTV!!!

    • I’m not sure why you had problems… I watched the second half of women’s soccer and a solid two hours of afternoon coverage on that website without a problem – it was smooth and good quality. I’m not a fan of the 3-minute delay in the online video, it meant I had to make a conscious effort not to go on Twitter in the minutes before Usain Bolt’s race. I’ve yet to encounter any problems with the video on ctvolympics.ca

    • I’m also in BC, and have recently been experiencing problems with the live feeds. I think it may have something to do with the commercials. Prior to Wednesday, 8 August, I was not seeing any ads in the World Feeds. Since then, these feeds have been inundated with ads, and connecting to any feed is a hit-or-miss proposition. For example, yesterday, I couldn’t connect to the live feed for the women’s bronze medal soccer game until 12 minutes into the game. Today, I lost the feed for the men’s marathon swim after the 3rd lap, and was unable to reconnect until AFTER the event was over. I also completely missed the live World Feed coverage of the men’s 4×100 relay heats, despite trying to connect for 20 minutes.

      I’m wondering whether this is strictly a BC phenomenon, or are viewers elsewhere in Canada affected as well?

  16. Yes, the CTV coverage is not only bad, I find it disrespectfull at times. Like somebody said before a lot of people work and have to watch CTVs 7pm – 23pm coverage. 4 hours would be enough time to show what was going on during the day, but instead CTV decides to focus on sports with Canadian athletes first and foremost. Why do I have the feeling I missed most of the Olympics? Because I did! While I understand the “patriotic sentiment”, that’s not what the Olympics are all about. I would like to see athletes from all over the world. Men’s and women’s long jump, pole vault, javelin and many other track and field competitions and other interesting sports have been “dumped” or cut to a minute by CTV in favour of hours of diving because of a remote chance of a Canadian medal.

    But the worst: CTV shows medal ceremonies with Canadian contend and ONLY focuses on the Canadian athlete completely leaving out the other two athletes, including their national anthem. In one instance they didn’t even mention who won and got second, they just focused on the Canadian that got the Bronze.

    This is disrespectful and CTV should take a long hard look at this practise.

    • I worked during week 1 of The Games (was on vacation this week). I had no real problems with the Primetime coverage. I flipped between TSN, Sportsnet and CTV (and occasionally NBC). The Canadian athletes are what the majority of Canadians are interested in. Diving is a popular Olympic sport in Canada. The jump/throw competitions in athletics simply aren’t that popular compared to other events. CBC never showed them in primetime either. They are available on-demand on CTVOlympics.ca.

    • Absolutley! Why we can’t focus on other athletes is beyond me.

    • Bell/Rogers did show a ton events that were not Canada events as other have said the key is to flip around so no they did not dump most of the games.

  17. Between all the commercials and blabing there isn’t much time left for actual Olympic coverage.
    Some events were pretty much swept under the table.
    They should be ashamed.

    • I’ve seen a lot more events in 2012 than ever before. The key is to flip around channels a bit.

      • True, but you have to know what particualr event is going on and at what time. That you can find without much of a problem, but then you have to find out which channel it is on and that becomes more difficult as some channels will just say ….”Athletics” without specifiyng exactly what event it is, track, field or whatever.
        And, yes those comments about the excessive reporting of Canadian efforts whilst ignoring other magnifient achievements by other countries are right on. That is all pathetically small town.

  18. This was for sure the worst coverage I have ever seen. So many stories, upon stories, and commercials. I literally forgot sometimes what it was I was watching or waiting to watch in the first place. Many times there would be a lead up to an event and right before another commerical they would say it was coming up. Finally at the top of the hour they would show a brief segment on what they went on about for an hour. Worst olympics along with worst coverage. Hand in hand I’m afraid.

  19. Quite frankly – the worst Olympic coverage I’ve ever seen in 30+ years.

    I’m a Brit living in Canada, and I’d always heard how American-centric they were in the States when it came to sports. Well, I have to say the CTV coverage has been just as bad. Very often, especially in the rowing/canoeing events, the commentators have been so centered on the Canadian coming third, fourth or fifth that the actual winner – THE GOLD MEDALIST! – has only been mentioned in passing.

    And the amount of inane studio interviews, Rick Hansen Difference Makers, or family background sob stories – it’s been more Oprah than the Olympics at times. Please, I want to watch the action and the medals – it’s only every four years. after all!

    Some of my satellite channels show direct feeds from the stadium or other venues, with no commentary but just crowd noise. No interviews, no 15 minute family background pieces whilst medals are being won and lost, just sports action; I’ve watched these channels most of the time.

    • Yeah, I personally preferred NBC’s canoeing and rowing coverage. Terry Gannon was fantastic. I thought the athletics commentators were the least Canadian-centric. They didn’t even mention that Canada had (for the time) won bronze until at least 15-20 seconds after the race concluded. Which was fine, I could see it with my own eyes and Jamaica deserved the attention.

      I like some of CTV’s features, namely Superbodies and some of the Difference Makers. My only problem is they are re-broadcast too many times and The Experts is stupid.

      • A further illustration: I am watching tonight’s ‘primetime coverage’ (7pm) as I was out all day. First of all, at the top of the show, they tell us who won all the day’s medals!!! Secondly, I’ve now been watching for over an hour and seen less than twenty minutes of action! And that hasn’t been the relays or soccer final, oh no; it’s been diving and cross country mountain biking!

        I give up!

        • It does piss me off how they say the results before they show the events. I do agree with you there. However, apparently, people are more likely to watch if they know a Canadian won a medal.

          The soccer final is on TSN right now. I’m sure they’re saving the relays for later. Like it or not, diving is a popular Olympic sport. And Catharine Pendrel is the defending World Champion in mountain biking. I guarantee you there’s been more than 20 minutes of action.

    • Absolutely right on…..couldn’t have said it better myself!

  20. I’m so glad CBC got the Olympics back, they do a much better job than these CTV chumps.

  21. My biggest complaint is with the IOC for introducing sport which takes hours to complete, what I hear you say. Well Soccer, Tennis and Marathon Swiming, it takes away so much viewing time on the other sports which do not take the 2 hours a soccer match does, 4 hrs a tennis or 6 hrs a swim. I understand golf will be introduced in Rio!!!!!!!!

    I would dispense with sport that has a recognised World Championship like soccer, (Rugby is coming too) Grand Slams in tennis and Majors in Golf etc.

    I also feel sport which requires a panel of adjudicators needs to be paired back too. If you can’t decide by
    time or points throw it out.

    Having got that off my chest I think I have answered my own question as to why I think this CTV coverage has been the worst ever; there is just too much to wade thro’ and as a consequence I have watched far less this time round then any other going back to Mexico in ’68 was it? But it’s not CTV’S fault it is the IOC.

    • The long-form events usually get shunted to cable channels anyway. You can’t possibly be saying that all team sports (even water polo takes an hour) should be removed from the Olympics just because they take up too much time on TV? The rugby that’s coming is sevens and each match only takes around 20 minutes (including halftime).

      I don’t have any problems with judged sports. Some I like, some I don’t. Gymnastics and figure skating have been in the Olympic program for around 100 years. I love some of the new sports like snowboarding.

      Every sport has a recognized World Championship. The World Athletics Championships and World Aquatics Championships are two of the biggest international sports events. The Olympics are meant to be above and beyond those events, for the most part. Grand Slams and Majors in sports like tennis and golf are different. Athletes aren’t competing for their countries there. Doesn’t take long to see how these events are important to athletes in those sports.

      The most popular sports worldwide should be on the Olympic program. Regardless of how long it takes to play them or how many other big events exist in those sports.

      Also, there’s no swimming event that takes 6 hours. I’m pretty sure that’s humanly impossible.

    • Well soccer can be incredibly exciting as we have seen with Canada’s women team, and you do, at least know how long the match will take, unlike softball or baseball which besides being incredibly boring, has no exact time frame in terms of start and finish.

  22. I am almost offended by the Olympic coverage by CTV. Being non-English origin Canadian, one of many (150+ countries)-Canadian I was disappointed with lack of respect for “other nations origin”-Canadians with a minimal or no coverage at all for athletes and sports and traditions of those “other nations origin”-Canadians and their heritage. No handball, no water-polo, no sailing, no modern-pentathlon, nada.
    In my opinion Olympics should be celebration and promotion of sports, athletes and nations in that order and not just covering sports that Canada has representatives.
    At the same time I am proud of Canadian successes and achievements.

    • There was lots of water polo. The handball finals for men and women were on, I believe.

      I don’t think modern pentathlon has ever been covered on Canadian TV. Simply not enough general interest to explain a confusing sport to many.

  23. YOUR WRONG! it does matter! the olympics give companies like CTV massive hardons, they made lots of cash, and pay lots of cash for exclusivity… and then they give us crap coverage, dont portray them as the hurt party here, i have little to no sympathy for them theyre doing great financially, they just suck and dont have a clue about any of the sports if its not on the teleprompter…. theres people with webphones down at London that would of provided, better coverage, better commentary, and FFS the olympics isnt ONLY about canada, many canadians are multi-cultured it wouldnt kill them to show other cultures/nations… and the overall games, more… and alot less of corporate bullcrap being stuffed down our throats, go tow your corporate line somewhere else

  24. I think it was the worst coverage ever! Brian Williams is one of the most annoying people I have ever watched. The best one was with the rowing and the commentator stated that the “Canadian” Team practiced more than any other team!!!! What a load of rubbish. The other ridiculous comment was regarding the Relay when the commentator stated the Canadian Team went from tribulation to heartache after being disqualified. I think he meant to say jubilation as tribulation and heartache are basically the same thing! During the closing ceremonies last night we saw about 30 minutes of the flag bearer and the Canadian Olympic Team — It was not just the Canadian Olympics.

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