Bringing you the Olympics is no small technological feat

Marc Sanchez Jul 26, 2012

Dave Mazza is a planner. That’s a very good thing for you and me, because starting tomorrow, all Mazza’s planning will come together to help bring about 325 hours of daily Olympic programming to TVs, computers, and phones in the U.S. He’s featured in a New York Times story this morning that reveals, among other things, his penchant for setting alarm clocks 3+ years in advance. Mazza has a reminder in his calendar that’s set to go off as the opening ceremonies get underway tomorrow. He set that reminder as the 2008 Olympics were coming to a close. The Times writes:

What a difference a decade makes. In Sydney, Australia, for the 2000 Summer Olympics, NBC sent three video feeds, technically called circuits, to the United States. Now it sends 92. They show up as small lines of strings on the diagram, each with a different color name (turquoise, scarlet, taupe, maroon, azure; colors translate well around the world) and a different purpose.

As engineer-in-chief for NBC sports, Mazza’s been through this before. He’s been in London for three months, along with a team of almost 100, laying cable, testing switches, and building control centers all so you can get your fill of synchronized swimming or sculling or whatever sport you like to watch every four years… basketball(?).
So, before you go cursing your smartphone because the Olympic feed is buffering and you have to wait 30 seconds before you know who bounced their way into the quarterfinals of trampoline, think about Dave Mazza. Maybe check out the Beijing finals while you wait:

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.