Olympic Primetime Report Day 5: NBC Gives Women More Airtime Than Men Thanks To Snowboard Halfpipe

NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast on February 12, 2018 was focused primarily on men’s alpine skiing, the qualifying round of men’s snowboard halfpipe with Shaun White and women’s snowboard halfpipe finals with Chloe Kim’s gold medal performance.

NBC had its share of Team USA stories, as American Arielle Gold also took bronze, while American Kelly Clark ended up in fourth place, despite putting up a performance many considered medal worthy. Snowboard halfpipe accounted for all but 1 minute and 14 seconds of Monday night’s women’s coverage.

The star power of women’s halfpipe was enough to push women’s coverage in front of men’s as women received 51.57% of NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast coverage compared to 48.43% for men. There were no mixed pair events aired.

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As there were no mixed pair events, women received 51.57% of NBC’s primetime coverage compared to 48.43% for men when mixed pair events are excluded.

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After five nights, men have received 5.4% more coverage than when mixed pair events are excluded, which is close to the primetime gender gap found in the 2014 Sochi Games.

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.