The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Viewers vent their fury over poor TV coverage of Games
THE BBC and Eurosport have both been condemned by viewers for their Olympics coverage.
On the first day of full events in Tokyo, viewers raged over the BBC’s lack of choices — they now only show two sports at once.
Meanwhile, Eurosport viewers were furious at a series of blunders which marred their enjoyment of yesterday’s action.
Many sports fans had tuned into the BBC hoping to see Olympic favourites such as gymnastics and rowing, plus the tennis. Yet gold medal favourite Adam Peaty’s swimming heat did not appear on either main channel for more than an hour after it had happened, although it was available live on iPlayer.
Both BBC1 and the red button screened the cycling road race yesterday, which triggered complaints from tennis fans, who pointed out that they may be waiting until Thursday for their sport to air.
Rowing did feature early but the chairman of British Rowing later noted it had disappeared from view.
‘Am I being really thick that I can’t find rowing anywhere since the BBC moved to this road cycling?’ Mark Davies, son of commentator Barry, tweeted.
‘I’ve spent the last 25 minutes looking on every coloured button and web page.’
BBC presenter Dan Walker, who anchored the coverage, was quick to hit back. ‘Thanks for watching this morning,’ he wrote. ‘I know we’ve got used to being able to see every sport at the Olympics but this time the BBC is only allowed to show two sports at the same time. It is an issue about TV rights and not an editorial choice.’
The coverage marks a stark deviation from London 2012 and Rio 2016 when viewers enjoyed close to wall-to-wall coverage. This year the BBC does not have full rights, with US broadcasting giant Discovery snapping up the European rights.
Lewis Goodall, policy editor on BBC’s Newsnight, attempted to lay the blame at the door of the print media. He tweeted, ‘Licence fee barely moved for 10 years, something called for by lots of newspapers and then outrage as, guess what, the BBC can’t afford to do certain things.’
Meanwhile, Eurosport’s coverage has been branded a shambles.