Even Snoop can’t save the Olympics

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Snoop Dogg cracks people up. This is the reason why he has been famous for almost two decades and has been able to go from Doggy style on reality TV for the sale of Corona. Last week he did it again for an audience in desperate need of a laugh. During a segment for his show Highlights of the Olympic Games with Kevin Hart and Snoop Dogg, which is a real thing that exists on NBC peacock streaming service, the two animators watched a highlight of an equestrian competition at the Tokyo Games. As a horse trotted down the course, Snoop exclaimed in wonder, “Oh horse. Crip Walk, because. You see that? On the tray ! … I must have this motherfucker in a video! Even Hart couldn’t stop laughing.

During an Olympics plagued by 1 to 4 p.m. time differences with North America, huge upheaval for favorites like tennis star Naomi Osaka, and a plethora of viewing options that are scattered at best , Snoop’s lightness seemed like a saving grace. It was brief, unexpected and almost magical – the kind of thing fans expect from great moments at the Olympics and rarely get during the 2020 Games.

In my feeds, at least, it was also perhaps the closest thing to an upcoming viral moment from Tokyo. A lot of online conversations have rightly gone, for example, to Osaka losing in the third round or removing Simone Biles from the team gymnastics competition for focus on your mental health, but when it comes to big “Have you seen??” moments, this year’s Games have been lacking. Part of it, no doubt, is due to jet lag, lack of immediacy; another factor is the unease people feel about the 2020 Olympics and the fact that Japanese citizens didn’t even want the Games to take place at all. There is also a pandemic is happening, and people have bigger things to do. But there is something else too: the public no longer watches the Olympics as before.

This is in part because NBC, which has owned the rights to broadcast the Olympics in the United States since 2000, now distributes them across nine channels owned by Comcast and Peacock. There is also coverage on YouTube, Hulu, the Olympics website, and the NBC Sports app. Sure, this provides hundreds of hours of wall-to-wall coverage, but it also makes it almost impossible to find anything. Aside from a few gymnastics, swimming and track and field events, few competitions managed to get past the scrum. In addition, due to copyright, it is almost impossible to post videos, GIFs or images of the Games on social media. There hasn’t been an unimpressed #PhelpsFace or McKayla Maroney, unless you counted Maroney’s Geico advertising.

Which brings me back to Snoop. The first place I saw a video of his equestrian shoot was Instagram. Then on Twitter, where there is now just a message saying, “This media has been deactivated in response to a report from the copyright owner.” Comcast pays about a billion dollars to broadcast every edition of the Olympic Games, and he naturally wants to get his money’s worth. But when the company and its partners are largely the sole providers of all content originating from Tokyo, there is little room for creativity, for fandom. Events like the Olympics are great for Twitter reactions, TikTok duos, and Instagram stories. Some slip through the cracks, but for the most part, golden moments like Snoop’s fade away before they have a chance to go super viral. Too bad; everyone should see this motherfucker in a video.

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