Olympic Primetime Report Day 4: Men Edge Out Women on NBC’s Primetime Broadcast

NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast was heavy on figure skating, with men’s luge and women’s moguls freestyle skiing added to the mix Sunday, February 11, 2018. No other sport clocked significant airtime.

Men received slightly more coverage than women Sunday night, with men’s events accounting for 39.85% of NBC’s Olympic coverage. Women’s and mixed pair events comprised 36.45% and 23.70% of NBC’s primetime broadcast respectively.

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When mixed pair events are excluded, women received 35.28% of NBC’s primetime coverage compared to 64.72% for men.

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Men’s Luge received significant attention as Chris Mazdzer’s silver medal performance marked the first time an American male has earned a medal in the event. High winds caused the Women’s Giant Slalom to be postponed to Wednesday. The weather also delayed Women’s Slopestyle Snowboarding, resulting in the finals being relegated to NBCSN in primetime. As such, figure skating took on an even larger than expected role in the broadcast.

After four nights, men have received more primetime coverage than women, but that gap is narrowing when mixed pair events are excluded. With no figure skating events on Monday night, the network will not have mixed pair events in the mix.

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.