Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Who Owns the Podium?

Did anybody else watch the US versus Canada men's hockey game on Sunday? Well, you were definitely not alone. MSNBC got 8.22 million viewers to watch this highly touted matchup which was the second most viewed program in network history behind only election night coverage in 2008 which garnered 8.23 million viewers. Wow, it's crazy that the election of the leader of the free world barely outscored a preliminary round hockey game. Don't get me wrong, it was an awesome game; however, who would've known at the beginning that the game would be great? Apparently, everybody must have known. MSNBC has been around for a while, and they have broken some major stories. Why then would a hockey game be so important?

The first obvious answer is because simply it is the Olympics. However, there is a deeper reason why I believe that the game was so important. Near the beginning of the Olympics, Canada set a goal of leading the medal count on their home turf in Vancouver. According to an article that was previously written in the Houston Chronicle, Canada has spent $117,000,000 over the last five years on a program called Own the Podium designed to obviously knock the United States and Germany off the top of the podium as they have traditionally been. These Olympics have been about more than just good fun competition for the Canadians I believe. Until they won their first gold medal of these Olympic Games which was in fact the first Canadian gold medal won on home soil, the media continued to emphasize the fact that these athletes were all under immense pressure to win the first gold. Therefore, I would be curious to see what percentage of this viewing audience were fans of the Canadians. This group would seemingly be the most driven to continue this goal, which doesn't appear to be reachable at the moment, of becoming the top Olympic team in the world.

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