Watching the Olympics? Or not.


I’ve previously mentioned that I’m an Olympics junkie. I’m exactly the kind of viewer NBC wants to have. I’ll watch whatever sport they put on the screen (and interrupt with Olympic-themed commercials for Coke and McDonald’s and other stuff that Olympic athletes wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.) But I’m feeling a little bitter about the plans for this year’s broadcast.

You may have heard that NBC is broadcasting every event in its entirety online. That’s great news, especially for equestrian fans, because there is limited television coverage planned for the equestrian events (supposedly the show jumping will be highlighted, but no luck for eventing and dressage fans.) But if we can watch the whole darn thing online, who cares, right?

I went to to get set up for the launch of the equestrian events on July 28. The FAQ section explained how I could get started. Friendly Carson Daly explains the whole thing at

So all I need is a username and password verifying my cable subscription.
Wait a sec. I don’t have a cable subscription. Satellite subscriptions could also work, but I don’t have one of those, either. I have rabbit ears on my DTV tuner box. I get about three and a half channels. It’s not that I don’t like TV. I’m a couch potato through and through. But I’m cheap. I’ve got a horse to feed. I know you guys can relate.

That said, I would pay good money to access the live video stream of the equestrian events, but doesn’t want my money, unless it’s going through a cable or satellite TV provider. Since NBC has exclusive broadcast rights here in the U.S. of A., there are literally no other options. Well, not literally. I could temporarily move to one of the 64 African and Asian countries where the IOC is offering live feeds of the events via YouTube. Or I could start harassing my friends and family members who have cable subscriptions and little interest in the Olympics.

The Olympics are supposed to be this global bonding experience, so it’s pretty frustrating that even though the technology exists to share it with everyone (well, everyone with an Internet connection), that opportunity is being ignored. A lot of equestrian events are now streamed online for free thanks to USEFNetwork or other individual sites. But in the case of the Olympics, NBC has claimed the entire thing and is keeping the non-headlining sports, including equestrian, in a little box where they decide who can and can’t see them.

But you know what? I’ll probably still watch whatever they put in primetime network coverage, which appears to be mostly swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball. That’s how much of an Olympic junkie I am.

Anyway, if you do have a participating TV service, I’d recommend setting up your account now to take care of any troubleshooting before the games begin. And then let me know how it goes. I’ll be busy adjusting my rabbit ears to get the best reception on NBC’s network coverage of Michael Phelps and beach volleyball.

Check out the full Olympic equestrian competition schedule and keep up with HorseChannel’s Olympic equestrian news coverage at

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  1. Yes, I agree! I went through the same scenario! I can’t watch it either because I don’t get the channels. Incredible!

  2. it is a money thing the networks only care about the money I won’t be watching the olympics but good luck to all those that are entered

  3. Thanks for the info! I just signed up and look forward to watching. I loved reading about all the athletes and of course the horses.

  4. You are absolutely right — there isn’t enough coverage on equestrian events on TV. So the fact that NBC is providing online coverage is great. But the problem with NBC’s online coverage of the Olympics is that it is available only to those with cable (or satellite etc.) subscriptions. So what to do if you don’t have cable? I found a solution at that you may find interesting too.


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