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  1. #1
    Senior Member Giacomo 1's Avatar
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    Kudos To NBC SportsNetwork!

    I know this won't be a popular thread to many BF members, but I for one think that NBC really got it right this Tour.

    Their coverage of the Tour was spot-on and really comprehensive. I didn't miss one stage because they pretty much suspended their regular programming to bring us the Tour both live and in tape delay nearly 24/7. Their announcing team was very good to. Phil and Paul were there usual classy selves, and Harris anchored the whole thing very well, while Bobke was his funny and interesting self. Steve Perino added a lot of interest from the back of the motorcycle to.

    While I know the helicopter shots were provided by French TV, they used it very well so we could really see the beauty of the country.

    Now if they could only bring this type of coverage for some of the classics they cover, and steal away the Giro and Veulta from Universal, who nobody seems to get anymore, cycling might become more than just a niche sport. Maybe it's time for us fans to let NBC know they got it right, so we can see more cycling in the future....
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    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    After watching the Euro feeds and their commentators I can say I'll miss Liggett when he's gone no matter his faults. Nobody calls a sprint finish like Phil....nobody!

    As far as cycling growing past a niche sport in the US it probably won't just by doing it like they're doing it now. The hardcore fans are happy but most Americans just won't watch hours of cycling in lieu of a comprehensive highlights show. They won't have the patience and if NBC ever stops showing the TDF it won't be because they read critiques of their coverage in here. It will be because the stateside viewing numbers don't measure up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
    I know this won't be a popular thread to many BF members, but I for one think that NBC really got it right this Tour....
    I do appreciate the extensive coverage, including some entire stages from start to finish. I enjoyed Phil and Paul my first year or two. They are very knowledgeable, but they comment at a very basic level that becomes tiresome for some. If they covered baseball, I'd expect to hear 20 times a game, "He's going to swing that bat at that little white ball, and if he makes contact, he'll run to the right as fast as he can, because if he runs to the left he'll come to what we call third base, and the game referees will have no choice but to send him off the field." I'm ready for a little more nuanced commentary, but I'm grateful for something rather than just an hour or so on Saturday's Wide World of Sports.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
    Now if they could only bring this type of coverage for some of the classics they cover, and steal away the Giro and Veulta from Universal....
    You probably know that NBC is a minority owner of Universal. If they wanted to move more cycling to NBCSN, I expect they could.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Giacomo 1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athens80 View Post
    You probably know that NBC is a minority owner of Universal. If they wanted to move more cycling to NBCSN, I expect they could.
    OK, I wasn't sure that was still the case.

    Who get's Universal anymore? Seems to be gone from most carriers these days. When I did get it, it wasn't even in HD. Would love to see NBC merge the two to get a better quality programming. Right now, NBC SportsNetwork is more of an outdoor channel most of the time, although it is getting better with the addition of IndyCar, F1, Premier League and MLS soccer and of course, Le Tour!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
    Who get's Universal anymore? Seems to be gone from most carriers these days. When I did get it, it wasn't even in HD. Would love to see NBC merge the two to get a better quality programming. Right now, NBC SportsNetwork is more of an outdoor channel most of the time, although it is getting better with the addition of IndyCar, F1, Premier League and MLS soccer and of course, Le Tour!
    I have to pay for an extra Sports Pack to get Universal. And most, if not all, is not HD. But I do prefer all their commentators.

    It seems that Universal gets the events that only the more diehard fans of obscure sports want to watch; NBCSN gets the events that will get a bigger audience.

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    They did a pretty good job this year of keeping it simple for a change, or at least it seemed that way. Not too much bs, nice long morning coverage, and the evening stuff was worth watching too since it wasn't heavily edited or packed with worthless filler.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mike F's Avatar
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    Overall I think they did a pretty good job of the coverage. I cant blame NBC for the Michelob Ultra guy and really if they sponsor the coverage, I can always flip the channel. Universal Sports is an Add-on here for DirectTV.
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    Bubba Ho-Tep's BFF sukram's Avatar
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    I have to give them a -1 with their online streaming service. Again.

    We cut the cord - no cable, just over the air. With Netflix and Amazon we just don't need cable. We do have Verizon FIOS, so my bandwidth is good.

    But streaming through tourdefrance.nbcsports.com was mediocre at best this year. I was often watching at 350kbit or less streaming. Netflix and Amazon stream A-OK, HD is no issue. I received errors on numerous occasions and it told me it couldn't load the video.

    I'm not sure why I paid for it again. Every year I ask myself why I don't just pirate it. I'm going to ask NBC why I shouldn't pirate it if the kind of service I pay for is so lousy.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member DLBroox's Avatar
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    I cut the cord years ago too. I bought the iPad app for the third year in a row and had a great time watching the entire tour. I had no issues at all with the thing and even used airplay to watch it on tv. Works great. It's worth fifteen bucks to me to have a great picture without worrying about finding a good pirated steam. And no commercials!

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    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    I would have preferred to watch Eurosport, but with NBCSN in HD on a big flat screen, I couldn't help but watch that.
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    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    For those wanting more racing. The Tour of Utah is supposed to be airing several hours a day on Fox Sports from August 6th to 11th and I believe it's live. The USA cycling challenge is on NBCSN from August 19 to 25 which we've all seen the 100s of commercials for. The Vuelta will be on Universal Sports but if you are in the USA and don't get that, alternatives include Front Row Sports and cyclingfans.com

  12. #12
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpsblake View Post
    For those wanting more racing. The Tour of Utah is supposed to be airing several hours a day on Fox Sports from August 6th to 11th and I believe it's live. The USA cycling challenge is on NBCSN from August 19 to 25 which we've all seen the 100s of commercials for. The Vuelta will be on Universal Sports but if you are in the USA and don't get that, alternatives include Front Row Sports and cyclingfans.com
    Yeah I just posted a heads-up thread on these two and the Tour of Alberta in September. I don't have cable myself but There's a RadioShack Tour Tracker application for the Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge at least. Not sure yet what the coverage is for the Tour of Alberta and their site doesn't offer much info about that yet that I could find.
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    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    we got our coverage on Reseau des SPorts (RDS) which gets the live feed from France 2 or 3.
    But a couple of nights, TSN aired the NBC sports broadcasts and it was great to hear phil and paul! I miss them and their old familiar phrases..."pipped on the line" "crossed swords" "the heads of state". But the coverage we got was very good, live and without too many ads.
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    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    good coverage - 'Universal' is part of the NBC group, so it's all the same,same
    like all the commentators, but would prefer Gogo to Scott, if there was choice and only one was possible
    Bobke is a 'must have', seemed he was used less this year than prior... same with Ventura, like him well enough
    Steve Porino - was a good touch, but was a little disjointed cause there never seemed to be video of what he was taklin about, when he was talkin...
    Overall, I thought the coverage was great!

    Americans - will never follow the TDF or cycling in any mass numbers. They can't even make it though a 90 minute FC Barca V Real Madrid match, let alone 3 hrs of boring skinny bikers with goofy names...
    Although Quintana and the recent years of strong Spanish/Portoguese showings might bring more interest from that audience segment.
    Not sure how well Quintana's success has been reported on US spanish channels/news. But if the SOuth American riders continue to show well, they should develop a strong following.
    Moviestar had a great tour, in spite of Valverde's unfortunate fortune.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
    OK, I wasn't sure that was still the case.

    Who get's Universal anymore? Seems to be gone from most carriers these days. When I did get it, it wasn't even in HD. Would love to see NBC merge the two to get a better quality programming. Right now, NBC SportsNetwork is more of an outdoor channel most of the time, although it is getting better with the addition of IndyCar, F1, Premier League and MLS soccer and of course, Le Tour!
    Comcast bought NBC Universal some time ago, so they control both Universal Sports Network and Versus. The former was launched by NBC before the takeover, the latter was started by Comcast before their acquisition of NBC. Very few cable operators, and certainly none of the large ones aside from Comcast, carry Universal Sports now. It's mainly featured only on the big dish providers and some smaller cable operators. What is irksome to me is that while many programming providers recognize that more people are "cutting the cord" and wanting other ways to consume content other than a "catch all" cable subscription, they insist on not letting you by a season subscription to the cycling content on Universal Sports.

    I think they were originally calling cable operators' bluff on that one in hopes that they would pay the fee and add it to their sports tiers. But so far, few have done it and the transition from a broadcast signal to a cable outlet occurred more than a year ago.

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    I'm in the corner of those that think nbcsports did a fantastic job. Even my wife who is not a big fan of bike race tv loved the coverage of the location and history so much that she didn't miss any of it. Here is the contact info for nbcsports if you sould like to tell them what you thought. (http://www.nbcumv.com/mediavillage/s...ports/contacts)

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpsblake View Post
    For those wanting more racing. The Tour of Utah is supposed to be airing several hours a day on Fox Sports from August 6th to 11th and I believe it's live. The USA cycling challenge is on NBCSN from August 19 to 25 which we've all seen the 100s of commercials for. The Vuelta will be on Universal Sports but if you are in the USA and don't get that, alternatives include Front Row Sports and cyclingfans.com
    And while you won't get the Grand Tours in the United States with them, Cycling.TV isn't bad either. At least they're very upfront about what you are eligible to receive in your particular country. Of course, there are also various free options through European Web sites. They often work, but you have to watch for malware and you lose the ability to "time shift" by viewing on demand, making European races hard to follow.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Chicago Al's Avatar
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    I see I'm not the only one to have my wife get interested (starting last year) due to the excellent visual coverage and Phil and Paul's commentary. It's become a nightly ritual for us. I've only been following cycling for a few years myself, but I do see how basic the commentary is. Still the fluidity and humor of those guys is enjoyable, the travelog details fill in the slow sections, and basic commentary makes it much more accessible for a general audience.

    In fact our daughters started watching with us last summer, and this year, one has been following the Tour via computer at her summer job (apparently not much to do there) and the other who is home with us has been watching with great interest. We've been a day or two behind and she's in the LR watching stage 20 now to catch up so we can watch the final stage together. Admittedly there is occasional commentary on the athletes that has little to do with cycling ability, shocking sexism and objectification of the male body, actually.

    Once you are into it, the nuances become more important, and we've been watching the panels and 'Ask Bobke' too, last year there was not as much interest. Like everyone we all like underdogs and come-from-behind stories, so Movistar's climb back is a favorite here, and of course we all cheered Jens' last attack.

    I think it's a fine idea to write NBCSports, they really did do this one right. It'll be hard to watch the Vuelta in SD on Universal. I have just one race saved from NBC in HD, Paris-Roubaix, which I am saving for a rainy night.
    Last edited by Chicago Al; 07-22-13 at 12:26 PM.
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  19. #19
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wabbit View Post
    we got our coverage on Reseau des SPorts (RDS) which gets the live feed from France 2 or 3.
    But a couple of nights, TSN aired the NBC sports broadcasts and it was great to hear phil and paul! I miss them and their old familiar phrases..."pipped on the line" "crossed swords" "the heads of state". But the coverage we got was very good, live and without too many ads.
    TSN2 aired the entire tour, using NBCSN coverage. TSN is on basic cable and you might have to pay extra for TSN2.

    You could have mentioned Paul Sherwin's "Contador is literally exploding", which brings to mind some Monte Python skit.

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    I also think NBC-SN did a very good job with the TdF. Treated it like the major sporting event it is, in time devoted and production values. I really enjoyed the broadcast.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
    I think it's a fine idea to write NBCSports, they really did do this one right. It'll be hard to watch the Vuelta in SD on Universal. I have just one race saved from NBC in HD, Paris-Roubaix, which I am saving for a rainy night.
    Interestingly, the upgrade to HD was supposedly one of the reasons that Universal Sports converted from an over-the-air channel to a cable network, but it seems as if too few operators have picked it up for them to actually make the HD conversion. That whole decision-making process and subsequent decision to go cable remains baffling to me for a niche network that needs every fewer it can get.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Giacomo 1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post


    I see I'm not the only one to have my wife get interested (starting last year) due to the excellent visual coverage and Phil and Paul's commentary. It's become a nightly ritual for us. I've only been following cycling for a few years myself, but I do see how basic the commentary is. Still the fluidity and humor of those guys is enjoyable, the travelog details fill in the slow sections, and basic commentary makes it much more accessible for a general audience.

    Once you are into it, the nuances become more important, and we've been watching the panels and 'Ask Bobke' too, last year there was not as much interest. Like everyone we all like underdogs and come-from-behind stories, so Movistar's climb back is a favorite here, and of course we all cheered Jens' last attack.
    +1.

    Sounds just like me and my wife. The visuals really caught her attention, and she also loved listening to Phil and Paul. Their basic commentary is excellent to bring in more fans, not to mention their love of the Tour, their knowledge of it's history, and of the country of France is contagious.

    When I started this thread, I thought I was going to get flamed from the "real" pro cycling fans here, but I've been pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction. I'll be writing to NBC Sports to let them know how much I enjoyed the Tour, and maybe if enough of us do, we can see more cycling in the future...
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  23. #23
    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Brown View Post
    TSN2 aired the entire tour, using NBCSN coverage. TSN is on basic cable and you might have to pay extra for TSN2.

    You could have mentioned Paul Sherwin's "Contador is literally exploding", which brings to mind some Monte Python skit.
    hahah....well rds was great, it was just in french but so what?
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