Comcast’s NBC television network ran a commercial during the Days of Our Lives soap opera promoting the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. There was nothing unusual about the spot in terms of an Olympic partner highlighting the event, a beach, an athlete and a festive time. After all, Comcast pays billions for the right to broadcast the Olympics across a spectrum of TV networks it owns while trying to sell fun and sports drama with entertainment. Why else would Ryan Seacrest, someone who has nothing to do with sports and produces the Kardashian show on Comcast’s E! cable TV network, host the Olympics nightly wrap up show.
Comcast should have an old TV character Sgt. Schultz’s from the 1960’s hit comedy show Hogan’s Heroes hosting instead of Seacrest. Schultz was a guard in a World War II German prisoner of war camp who really wasn’t all that interested in doing his job and constantly repeated variations of his catchphrase “I know nothing.” Comcast will be Schultz-like. I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing. Schultz’s character has endured for a half century.
In the non-fantasy world, Rio is headed for a financial disaster. The local police cannot promise that they will be able to protect people from crime during the Olympics, the country is impeaching the president, the zika virus has not gone away, the water pollution is not going away, charges of bribery and embezzlement have been circulating. But have no fears, Brazil’s President Michel Temer has promised his country will show the world “one of the major global economies at work in a mature democracy.” Not even Franz Kafka would have written that in one of his works. Sgt. Schultz’s would have just said “I know nothing.” But the Brazilian president has to say something good about his country and the Games even if the evidence suggests otherwise. The Games must go on.
By Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.