Olympic Primetime Report Day 1: Men Dominate NBC’s Coverage

In a broadcast centered around team figure skating and moguls freestyle skiing, male athletes received the bulk of NBC’s primetime Olympic coverage by a wide margin on February 8, 2018.

Coverage of male athletes accounted for 49.51% of NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast* on Thursday night. Women and mixed pair events (e.g., ice dancing) received 8.83% and 41.66% of NBC’s coverage respectively.

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When mixed pair events are excluded, men received 84.86% of NBC’s coverage compared to 15.14% for women.

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The heavy emphasis on male athletes and pair events was driven by the team figure skating events. Saturday’s primetime program may see the network placing a heavy more emphasis on female figure skaters and, once again, pairs skaters.

Regular updates about NBC’s coverage of men and women athletes will be posted throughout the 2018 Winter Games on FiveRingTV.com. A mid-Olympic report, with complete sport-by-sport coverage breakdowns, will be issued on February 18.

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* The percentage of primetime devoted to men’s, women’s and mixed sex sports was calculated by a single researcher, utilizing a stopwatch and DVD time codes, measuring (to the millisecond) the total amount of time devoted to each event. Any time spent at the actual athletic site, on a profile about an athlete, promos about a specific athlete or sport, and host commentary about a specific sport or athlete was recorded. Split screens combining commercials and live coverage are included in the calculation, but commercial breaks are not included. The NBC broadcast network East Coast feed was used for this calculation. Olympic coverage on cable networks and live streaming was not included.  Network overruns beyond 11:00pm up to the break for local news are included within this calculation.

Olympic Television: Broadcasting the Biggest Show on Earth contains a detailed 20-year examination of how male and female athletes have been covered within primetime Olympic broadcasts. The book also has analyses of how race/ethnicity and nationality impact Olympic coverage, interviews with NBC personnel about the content and production of Olympic broadcasts, and an overview of Olympic television history. Published by Routledge, it is available in hardcover, paperback and ebook formats at Amazon.com, the Routledge website, The Bookstore Plus, and other outlets.