Sunday, November 11, 2018

What is NBC Sports Gold and Should I Get It?

I watched the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating today on NBC, where we got two competitions - men's and women's figure skating - in just an hour and a half. Without too much fanfare, we got barely any of the short programs and a handful of free programs. No pairs, and no ice dancing.

The supreme editing makes sense since it was on NBC proper, but still a bit disappointing. The crew actually doesn't travel there, either, which is why we don't get any interviews.

But at the end of every broadcast, we are urged to check out NBC Sports Gold to get even more figure skating, including live broadcasts of many of the competitions NBC would air instead of the tape-edited features.

It frustrates me, because as much as I want live-streamed coverage, I don't want to fork over more money since I already have the yearlong pass for track and field.

Here are some details for the Gold pass:

  • NBC offers a Gold pass for a given yearly period for certain sports, including
    • Track and Field
    • Speed Skating
    • Figure Skating
    • Skiing/Snowboarding/Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined/Biathlon
    • Premier League Football
    • Cycling
    • Rugby
    • Philadelphia sports, and 
    • Portland Trailblazers. Not sure why they have the last two. 
  • The year pass ranges from $19.99 (speed skating) to $74.99 (track and field), though they do offer sales. (Figure skating is currently ten dollars off - $59.99 - and track and field is $5 off - $69.99.) Most just have a season-long pass, but the Philly pass offers a monthly plan.
  • You get a login, and the pass allows you to live stream events from the main broadcasting feeds. You can also view replays of events. 
  • The subscription auto-renews at the start of the next season unless you cancel beforehand, so a credit card is required. 
I bought the track and field pass back in May, and I got my money's worth. Even last month I was able to use it to watch Eliud Kipchoge's world record-breaking Berlin Marathon run. 

There are two caveats to the Gold pass: it's very expensive, and the app isn't great. 

I wish that it was a bit cheaper, because then it would be no doubt to purchase the figure skating and snow passes. It's nice that it is just a one-time payment, but that can creep up on you when the auto-renewal kicks in. 

I am not a fan of the app. It doesn't always work with Chromecast, which is something I really enjoy. The app also kicks me out a lot of the time so I'm constantly logging in, and it always forgets which pass I subscribe to. It says "NO SPEED SKATING AVAILABLE" and I think, "Good, because that's not what I want!"

Hopefully they can make the app a little easier to work with, and someday they can offer a combo discount where the more passes you buy, the less you have to pay. (Kind of like a Disney vacation: the more days you buy, the less the daily passes cost!)

I really enjoy having the international broadcast feed because then you can see everyone competing instead of NBC's chosen few. But it does also mean you have to sit through ice resurfacing, breaks in the action, or bad weather delays. Keep that in mind. 

So is this something you would consider purchasing? Does it make you angry that NBC is nickel and diming Olympic lovers by making these single passes? Should I splurge for the figure skating pass since it's on sale right now? I'm curious what other people think!

Olympic Channel Video of the Week


There were some great videos this week - I especially loved yesterday's look at the Samoan weightlifting craze - but the one I adored from this week is the "On the Line" interviews about  Duke Kahanamoku and Johnny Weissmuller. It revealed so much information about these great athletes!


Weekly Cauldron Check

Is the cauldron lit????

...Nope.


I'm Claire Nat and you're reading Light The CauldronFollow me on Twitter and Facebook @CauldronLight and read my past Olympic articles! You can start with my daily recap of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics HERE!

3 comments:

  1. Hey, Claire! I actually have the NBC Gold Figure Skating pass. There are things I love about it, and things I don’t love about it. Most of the things I don’t love are covered in your review above, with one addition: what we get on this app is basically the ISU’s international live feed, which they sell by contract to broadcast companies all over the world, with minimal if any editing by NBC.

    What this means is that we usually don’t get any commentary. We got commentary for Skate America, and I’m wondering if we’ll get some for the Grand Prix Final. But usually we don’t, and without commentary, you have to know what you’re looking at and how to read the score boxes to really understand how the event is going. It isn’t curated for you. Nobody’s going to tell you how many points a skater needs to gain the lead; that if Hubble and Donoghue place second or first at Skate Canada, they’ll guarantee their spot at the Grand Prix Final; that Adam Rippon choreographed Mariah Bell’s Short Program; or that Satoko Miyahara’s jumps are so much more rotated this year than last year, which is why her performances both look more confident and are getting higher scores.

    The plus side is that the people who aren’t fans of Johnny and Tara are left in peace during Singles skating; the down side is that we don’t get Tanith Belbin White for Ice Dance or Pairs, either, and she makes everyone a better viewer, a more informed fan, and a happier human being.

    I got the app subscription because it was more cost effective than the cable package or the monthly charge for Hulu (last I checked the Olympic Channel was on the more expensive plan, right?) How does what I’ve described compare to the Olympic Channel coverage? Will you get the Grand Prix Series in its entirety? Do you get every participant, or just the final groups?

    ReplyDelete
  2. What awesome information! Thanks so much, Meredith. I guess it would be harder to watch an uncommentated judged event rather than something like track and field, where winners are pretty easy to spot.

    I would much rather watch the live coverage rather than the edited, tape-delayed versions from NBC. Did you get to watch the Grand Prix from Helsinki? Because NBC never aired that and I was a bit frustrated by that. I believe we didn't get every participant - especially in the free skate. Actually, in the Skate America coverage I think they only showed Nathan Chen's winning free skate, and that was it for the men!

    Once again, thanks so much. I'll keep thinking about it!

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  3. We did get Helsinki. Here’s what we get on NBC Gold:

    US Regional competitions, which qualify skaters to Sectionals— Jr and Sr.
    US Sectionals, which qualify skaters to Nationals— Jr and Sr.
    US Nationals— Jr and Sr
    The US Classic International
    The entire Grand Prix series
    European Championships
    Four Continents
    World Championships
    World Team Trophy

    Other than the US Classic International, we don’t get the rest of the Challenger Series, so that’s a bit disappointing.

    We do get some Synchro events:

    Synchronized Skating Sectionals
    Synchronized Skating Nationals
    Synchronized Skating World Championships

    ReplyDelete

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