Editorial: Olympiad’s targeted spotlight

Feb. 05, 2014 @ 11:53 PM

Athletes from around the globe have gathered for the Olympics Winter Games in Sochi.

We’d like to believe the games will provide us riveting television viewing, complete with exciting competition and exhilarating views of the host area that prompt consideration of travel.

That part will be there. But the extra stuff will be, too. That’s common with big-time events, especially in sports.

Like some other events, such as college athletics for example, competition has morphed into business. The games are a marketing blitz, coveted by hosts eager to generate local revenue.

The investment into facilities is usually well worth it. And when the games leave town, some wonderful resources are left behind for local usage.

The Olympics are also a platform. With so many eyes watching, advocates push agendas from many directions. It has been this way for years.

And, of course, there is the obvious television and commercial attraction. Networks will pay large sums to televise and earn substantial profits with advertising partners.

When it comes to the Olympic Games, whether summer or winter, the televising of sport is long gone. Live coverage has always been tricky with time zones. By increasing quantity, networks haven’t worried if events are televised live. It is about prime time. And the more important aspect has been the story, the background leading in and the competition as it plays out.

Action starts today. Opening ceremonies are Friday. Get ready for all of that and more.

Russia’s anti-gay law is already in the news cycle. It bans what it calls pro-gay propaganda that can be accessed by minors. Essentially, any public support for gay rights is taboo.

There’s the terrorism storyline. Security is high and tensions escalating in response to pre-Olympics activities.

The scenes we’ll be shown won’t be dark and dreary, with Russians stereotypically in big furry hats and looking gnarly. They might include palm trees — we hear Sochi has some, that it is not the typical frozen home to the games. There’s always landscaped beauty at the Olympics.

And there’ll be some surprise stories, maybe not the magnitude of Jamaican bobsledders or Eddie “The Eagle,” but surprising nonetheless. There’ll be North Carolina connections, too.

Like a good buffet, take your choice and enjoy.