Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What Now, PR Experts? 

NBC TV in the US must be asking questions. It invested hundreds of millions in bringing the Winter Olympics to the American public -- and apparently, the public doesn't care. This seems to be a fundamental PR challenge. How does one get viewers interested in athletics that they don't see but once in four years?

I watched some of the broadcasts, and it seemed to me NBC was offering the programs more by rote than anything else. In some cases, anchors looked and sounded a bit bored. There were high moments like singles and pairs skating, but there were also segments where viewers were rushed through an event to see Americans and the final gold, silver and bronze runs then plucked off to something else.

There was plenty of publicity before and during the games. Special sections graced nearly every newspaper I saw. There were full-bore web sites, radio, blogging, etc. But, in the end, vaporous shows like American Idol commanded more attention than athletes who had prepared their whole lives to compete on the international scene.

Could it be that people really don't care that much about sports -- or that the sports themselves haven't built relationships with the public for the public to care? It's an interesting PR question and one NBC needs to solve.


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