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NBC misses the gold with Olympic coverage

It has always been the goal of the Olympic games to overcome divides in international politics and at least for two weeks develop a spirit of international cooperation and unity.

Why, then, is it that NBC continues to be allowed to marginalize a large swath of the American population by limiting access to this international event? NBC’s decision to require a cable subscription to view the games means that many are not able to join the international community in enjoying them. This disadvantages lower socioeconomic class families who cannot afford a cable subscription, as well as a population of young adults who increasingly turn to the Internet over television.

Preventing certain demographics from watching the Olympics seems to contradict the mission of the games and therefore begs the question: why does the international Olympics committee allow this practice to continue?

NBC makes some of its coverage available online and supplements it with advertisements; why can’t this practice be adapted to all coverage?

People love to gather around a game. Nothing has made this sociological phenomenon more evident than Twitch Plays Pokémon, a movement in which people across campus and across the world have been coming together to root for their favorite childhood video game.

This kind of response is exactly what the Olympics are supposed to be about: the coming together of different groups over the love of the game. If the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was truly committed to this goal, they would place stricter regulations on those networks given the right to broadcast.

Why the networks covering the Olympic Games don’t embrace the success of live streaming events online is an enigma. It has become clear through the runaway popularity of Twitch Plays Pokémon that people in our age demographic will gather together to watch and socialize around free online streams.

The IOC should promote the use of online video to promote the goals of community upheld by the Olympics. Offering access to those without cable subscriptions, even in an ad-supported form, would be a large step toward achieving that goal.

The best way to achieve the international unity that the Olympic games strive for is to make coverage of the events easily accessible to everyone. But in the mean time we can all watch Pidgeot go for gold.