I’m a consummate Olympic cynic—I think the whole damn thing should always be held on the same “Olympic Island,” so no city has to waste billions of dollars on something with no real payoff for its residents. But I genuinely like the Parade of Nations. It’s educational, like a walking Sporcle quiz, and it’s charming to see how excited the athletes are to finally be there. So of course NBC wants to fuck with it.
Inside The Games, citing a report from Brazilian paper Agora São Paolo, says NBC has submitted a formal request to the Rio organizers that the 207 Olympic teams enter the Maracanã Stadium in English alphabetical order, instead of the Portuguese alphabetical order that is currently planned. (The opening ceremonies have always used the language of the host nation to set the order.)
Why? Well, in English, the United States team enters near the end. In Portuguese, the Estados Unidos team comes in at the start, and NBC is afraid its American viewers will tune out after that.
You can see the currently planned order here, and play around with it to see the order if NBC gets its way. (What would be good for NBC would be terrible for ratings in American Samoa.) We’ll know next Friday if NBC prevails, though the Rio organizing committee reportedly wants things to remain as they are.
My question here is this: If NBC isn’t airing the opening ceremony live anyway, why not just edit it to show the Americans entering at the end?