Meet the Next NFL RedZone

NBC is hoping to turn the Olympics into a cash cow.

NBC wants to help you get your Scottish curling fix.
National Journal
Alex Brown
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Alex Brown
Jan. 14, 2014, midnight

It’s 8:30 on a Fri­day morn­ing and you’ve got a prob­lem.

You’re tuned in to see if the Swedish curl­ing team can de­fend their Olympic gold medal. But as the sweep­ers near the end of their game, you real­ize you’re miss­ing the big race — will Olga Zait­seva help ski and shoot the Rus­si­an biath­lon re­lay team to vic­tory on home snow?

For dozens, and per­haps even scores, of Amer­ic­ans, this would be a huge di­lemma. NBC thinks it has the solu­tion.

For diehard fans of ob­scure cold-weath­er sports, the net­work’s on­line-only “Gold Zone” could be the broad­cast in­nov­a­tion they’ve been wait­ing for. If the name sounds fa­mil­i­ar, think of the NFL’s Red­Zone Chan­nel, which jumps view­ers rap­id-fire from game to game in or­der to show the most scor­ing plays. NBC’s concept is sim­il­ar — show as many gold-medal events and as much ac­tion as pos­sible — and its on-air tal­ent prob­ably won’t have much trouble ad­just­ing to the format. Red­Zone’s An­drew Si­cili­ano will take host­ing du­ties for Gold Zone as well.

“[N]et­works are do­ing whatever they can to con­nect the most avid and hard-core view­ers,” said Al Tomp­kins, seni­or fac­ulty for broad­cast and on­line at the Poynter In­sti­tute. And with the Olympic Games as many as a dozen time zones away, Amer­ic­an fans have a tricky task nav­ig­at­ing early-morn­ing events — es­pe­cially when on­line spoil­ers have a tend­ency to ru­in the sus­pense of tape-delayed broad­casts.

For the diehards, wait­ing for NBC to show a pared-down re-air­ing of the day’s events in a prime-time block simply isn’t good enough. And the net­work is bet­ting that the faster, more com­pre­hens­ive cov­er­age of Gold Zone will bring in those pas­sion­ate fans, even if they are small in num­ber.

The “whip-around” broad­cast isn’t new; Gold Zone de­b­uted dur­ing the 2012 Lon­don Games. But un­like its pre­de­cessor, this year’s it­er­a­tion will have hosts, which NBC ex­ec­ut­ives touted as a ma­jor im­prove­ment. A spokes­man for NBC said the show’s concept, though sim­il­ar, wasn’t ne­ces­sar­ily a spin-off of Red­Zone. But he did high­light Si­cili­ano’s ex­per­i­ence with the format. “He’s done a great job with this type of present­a­tion in the past,” he said.

And while the net­work tries to high­light its niche sports, it’s giv­ing more at­ten­tion to the mar­quee events as well. NBC is plan­ning to roll out “Olympic Ice,” a daily fig­ure-skat­ing-fo­cused stu­dio show to cov­er that per­en­ni­ally pop­u­lar event.

What We're Following See More »
CNN/ORC Has Clinton Up 5 Points
13 hours ago

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 49%-44% in a new CNN/ORC poll out Monday afternoon. But it's Gary Johnson's performance, or lack thereof, that's the real story. Johnson, who had cleared 10% in some surveys earlier this fall, as he made a bid to qualify for the debates, is down to 3% support. He must hit 5% nationwide for the Libertarian Party to qualify for some federal matching funds in future elections.

McCarthy, Pelosi Team Up on National Guard Bonuses
15 hours ago

The majority and minority leader of the House are both saying "California's veterans are not to blame for being mistakenly overpaid, after a Los Angeles Times story revealed that officials are trying to claw back millions in bonuses from California National Guardsmen. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the efforts to recoup the money 'disgraceful,' and asked for the Department of Defense to waive the repayments soldiers would be forced to make if they inappropriately received re-enlistment bonuses for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she's looking for a "legislative fix" in the lame-duck session.

IBD/TIPP Poll Shows a Dead Heat
17 hours ago

A new Investor’s Business Daily/TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence poll shows Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump each earning 41% support. On the one hand, the poll has been skewing in Trump's favor this year, relative to other polls. But on the other, data guru Nate Silver called the IBD/TIPP poll the most accurate in 2012.

Clinton Leads by 12 in ABC Tracking Poll
22 hours ago

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 12 percentage points among likely voters, 50 to 38 percent, in a new ABC News tracking poll, "her highest support and his lowest to date in ABC News and ABC News/Washington Post polls. Gary Johnson has 5 percent support, Jill Stein 2 percent. Clinton led by only four points in the last ABC/Post poll on Oct. 13.

Morning Consult Poll: Clinton Decisively Won Debate
3 days ago

"According to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, the first national post-debate survey, 43 percent of registered voters said the Democratic candidate won, compared with 26 percent who opted for the Republican Party’s standard bearer. Her 6-point lead over Trump among likely voters is unchanged from our previous survey: Clinton still leads Trump 42 percent to 36 percent in the race for the White House, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson taking 9 percent of the vote."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.