NBC Sports has admitted it screwed up by inadvertently revealing Missy Franklin's gold-medal victory in the 100-meter backstroke before the race even aired on the network, and promises that it will never happen again.
NBC delivered a spoiler that deserved its own medal for Biggest Blooper on Monday, when it ran a promo for its "Today" show that featured Franklin clutching her gold medal for the race and meeting with her parents after her victory.
In case viewers were slow to pick up on the meaning of the ad, a voiceover narration declared, "When you’re 17 years old and win your first gold medal, there’s nobody you’d rather share it with … We’re there when Missy Franklin and her parents reunite. A 'Today' exclusive – live from London. Tomorrow."
Unfortunately for sports fans, the race had yet to air on the network — while it had taken place earlier in the day, NBC had tape-delayed it so it would run in primetime.
In response to the viewer dismay, a spokesperson for NBC Sports Group says that there are now safeguards in place to prevent a repeat of the gaffe.
“Clearly that promo should not have aired at that time. We have a process in place and this will not happen again," the spokesperson said in a statement. "We apologize to viewers who were watching and didn’t know the result of the race."
This isn't the first time that NBC has courted controversy with its tape-delay policy for the London games. The internet was abuzz with displeased grumbling on Friday over the network's decision to tape-delay the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
Despite the gaffes, the Olympics have been a ratings winner for NBC. So far, the London games have outpaced the 2008 Beijing Olympics by nine percent in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic, and by 14 percent in total viewers, averaging an 11.0 rating/32 share in the demo and 34.9 million total viewers.