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Call Sheet #316: Olympics Edition: Grading the Opening Ceremony, Which Fashions Stood Out, NBC's Tape-Delay Controversy

BIZBASH CALL SHEET â€” #316 — Monday, 07.30.12

++ Sponsored by Event Leadership Institute ++

Compiled today by Beth Kormanik in New York
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FRIDAY: Lollapalooza (through Sunday)


1. OLYMPIC RECORD: Friday night's Olympic ceremony on NBC drew a record-setting 40.7 million viewers. Salon: "The Nielsen company said Saturday that London’s opener was the most-watched opening ceremony of any summer or winter Olympics. It topped the previous mark of 39.8 million people who watched the 1996 Atlanta Olympics begin, and the 34.9 million who watched the colorful first night from Beijing four years ago." http://bit.ly/QqL6Rl

WHAT EVENT PROS THOUGHT: BizBash asked top event producers to rate the opening ceremony, and their grades ranged from A to F. One positive reaction came from Tom Bussey, principal at New York-based Production Glue: "I was blown away by the torch lighting and the climax of the ceremony. The rings and pyro were impressive and we saw something totally new in terms of the integration of pyrotechnics, LED, lighting, automation, and a live performance. The sequence with David Beckham in the boat and the use of pyro at the Tower Bridge read like a live action movie."

We gathered some more reviews here: http://bit.ly/Mfqp9y

What are others saying? Here's a sample of commentary:

New York Times: "It’s hard to imagine any other nation willing to make so much fun of itself on a global stage, in front of as many as a billion viewers. It takes nerve to look silly; the cheesy, kaleidoscopic history lesson that took Britain through its past, from pasture through the workhouses and smoke stacks of the Industrial Revolution to World War I and, of course, 'Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,' was like a Bollywood version of a sixth-grade play. But bad taste is also a part of the British heritage. The imagery mixed the glory of a royal Jubilee with the grottiness of a Manchester pub-crawl. Britain offered a display of humor and humbleness that can only stem from a deep-rooted sense of superiority." http://nyti.ms/Om9jGt

The New Yorker: "The unspoken message was that Britain was an old country, a proud country—and a very different country from China. Boyle’s living diorama, as specifically-drawn a world as Middle Earth or Pandora, was the opposite of Beijing’s vague corporate bombast. You could hear the sound of a horse’s hooves clopping; of balloons being pricked, in the countdown to the start of the ceremony, a rebuke to the silent grandiosity of lights and lasers." http://nyr.kr/LWLkZ1

Entertainment Weekly: Among the best moments were the pyrotechnics; the worst included animating a statue of Winston Churchill. http://bit.ly/QSAcml

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: "I don't know if Boyle's opening ceremony was good. I don't know if it was bad. I know it was surely the sort of event for which the British invented the term 'gob-smacking.' It was truly, deeply, British. It was by the Brits and for the Brits." http://bit.ly/QoqWaJ

2. OLYMPIC BRAND AWARENESS: Marketers may spend hundreds of millions of dollars around their Olympic sponsorships, but are consumers aware of who they are? Ad Age: "In an online survey of 1,034 U.S. consumers last week, 37% of respondents identified Nike as an Olympic sponsor, and just 24% said, correctly, that Adidas is one. Respondents who identified brands as sponsors, whether correctly or incorrectly, were then asked if that Olympic sponsorship makes them feel more positive about that brand. Some of the highest response rates were for brands that aren't sponsors — 54% of respondents said Olympic sponsorship made them feel more positively about Nike, 52% said the same about Burger King and 48% about Pepsi." http://bit.ly/QqKQSh

3. FASHION PARADE: The opening ceremony's fashion varied from casual Friday to Harry Potter. New York Times: "The opening ceremony long ago devolved into a bizarre runway show for international fashion, where hot bodies in designer duds walk in circles to sell clothes as much as national pride. This has increasingly been the case over the last decade, since many national organizing committees began licensing their ceremonial wear to help finance their teams." http://nyti.ms/LXm0C8

4. BROADCAST BLUES: NBC's decision not to air the opening ceremony live drew criticism, as did its tape-delay of marquee sporting events such as the Michael Phelps-Ryan Lochte duel in the pool. CNET suggested top brands should step in and sponsor live coverage of events. "The current thinking is so ingrained, so contemptuous of the viewing audience, and so embarrassing to people overseas -- who marvel that Americans can't watch what happens, when it happens -- that perhaps some magical, revolutionary thinking might be applied. … ESPN wouldn't dream of presenting World Cup or Euro 2012 games on tape delay, without first showing them live. The network seems to appreciate what human beings would prefer." http://cnet.co/NduRzF

4. MUNICH TRIBUTE: The International Olympic Committee declined to include a moment of silence honoring the 40th anniversary of 11 Israeli athletes murdered at the Munich games, but NBC's Bob Costas inserted it into the network's broadcast. Daily Intel: "As the Israeli delegation of athletes entered the London arena, following the super-fun opening ceremony, he held his own on-air memorial service. 'For many, tonight, with the world watching, is the true time and place to remember those who were lost, and how and why they died.' Costas then went quiet for about 12 seconds — 'an eternity in TV time,' The Hollywood Reporter reminds us — before going back to NBC's regular coverage of the country-by-country parade of questionable outfit choices." http://bit.ly/POmsHj

5. SEAT FILLERS: Embarrassed by the vast sections of empty seats at sporting events—even gymnastics and basketball—organizers have called in soldiers and local students to fill them. The Guardian: "[Games chairman Sebastian] Coe said he believed the problem would settle down, adding that it was a result of representatives of national Olympic committees, sporting federations and some sponsors taking time to 'work out the shape of their day' and decide where to go." http://bit.ly/QUXEzu

6. VENUE HONORS: Los Angeles Times: "The new stadium built for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London has made the shortlist for Britain's top architecture honor—the Stirling Prize, from the Royal Institute of British Architects. The institute said on its website that the stadium design, by the firm Populous, 'focuses very much on the ease of movement of the large numbers of people who will use the stadium during the Games.' It also said that the 'bowl of the stadium provides clear sight lines throughout and a surprisingly intimate relationship with the events for a venue of this scale.'" http://lat.ms/QjNpFH

7. TORONTO OLYMPIC DREAM: The city has twice failed to attract the Olympics—in 1996 and 2008—but it has started to explore a bid for the 2024 Summer Games. The cost of the spectacle, though, has some worried. Toronto Sun: "London’s Olympic games are now in full swing, but with that also comes the seemingly-constant debate around how much benefit host cities enjoy once the games are over." http://bit.ly/P8tS4d

++ A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR: Event Leadership Institute ++

Check out our editor's collection of top-rated video chapters from our class library, and sharpen your event insight. Our Suggested Summer Learning compilation includes content from David Merrell, Jes Gordon, Mindy Weiss, Preston Bailey, Mary Wittenberg, Colja Dams and others.  41 minutes | 10 clips | lots of ideas 


BOSTON: What would it take for Boston to host the Olympics? BostInno takes a hypothetical stab at the process, which may involve building up Downtown Crossing, transforming college dorms into Olympic Village, and using the Boston Marathon route for long-distance running. http://bit.ly/Neks6P

CHICAGO: For the seventh year, BMF Media will produce two lounges at the Hard Rock Hotel during Lollapalooza August 3-4. The CK One Music Lounge will have private performances and festival makeovers; the "It's So Miami Oasis" has DJ sets and on-site activations from brands such as Guess, Clearasil, and Motorola. A nightly performance series called Rock the Vote Nights presented by CK One will also take place.

The Toque dining gala is September 21 at the Hilton Chicago. Michael Kornick will again serve as chef coordinator, and Michael Lerich and His Orchestra will perform after dinner for the first time.

LOS ANGELES: The second annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival is August 9-12, with a performance by Third Eye Blind.

Local event listings from Masterplanner: http://masterplanneronline.com/losangeles

MIAMI: The Royal Pig Pub & Kitchen on Las Olas is slated to open Tuesday. Clean Plate Charlie has a preview: http://bit.ly/MMsh7V

The Women in P.R. summit and retreat is slated for September 20-23 at the Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel, with keynote speaker Kelly Cutrone.

NEW YORK: Renowned restaurant Eleven Madison Park will undergo radical changes after Labor Day. New York Times: http://nyti.ms/LXQPvg

Karen Roskevsky is now in charge of special events at Esprit Events.

Local event listings from Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork

ORLANDO: Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo hosts WaZoo Beer Fest Saturday. Sponsors include J.J. Taylor Distributing Florida, World of Beer, Blue Moon, J.P. Morgan, and Pepsi. Food will be provided by Datz Deli, Tijuana Flats, Whole Foods Market, Kona Grill, and more.

TORONTO: The Festival of Beer turned 18 and was more grown up this year. BlogTO: http://bit.ly/QzMbAQ

WASHINGTON: The Harman Center for the Arts Annual Gala is scheduled for October 15 at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall and National Building Museum. Melissa Moss is chairwoman of the black-tie event.

What are you doing? Tell us: [email protected]. 

With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Alexandra Brandt, Rose Chevalier, Julia Elstrodt, Beth Kormanik, and Anna Sekula in New York.

BizBash Call Sheet is the must-read daily digest of event industry news from BizBash.com. 

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