Lindsey Jacobellis’s fourth attempt at an Olympic gold medal in snowboard cross was not to be, nor was it enough to skew NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast in favor of women on February 15, 2018.
NBC’s Thursday night broadcast offering was spread across men’s alpine skiing, skeleton and Adam Rippon’s performance in figure skating, and women’s alpine skiing and snowboard cross. No other sport clocked more than a minute of airtime.
The distribution of NBC’s Olympic coverage on Thursday night 61.97% for men’s events, while women’s events received 38.03% of the broadcast. There were no mixed pair events aired.
When mixed pair events are excluded, the percentages are the same as there were no mixed pair events aired.
Marit Bjørgen added a bronze medal to her collection, her 12th overall. When the Norwegian Cross Country became the most decorated female Winter Olympian in history earlier in the PyeongChang Games, her accomplishment received a very brief mention on NBC’s Saturday February 10, 2018 primetime broadcast. She was not, however, the subject of a feature, nor was she interviewed. On Thursday night, Bjørgen’s 12th medal was acknowledged on NBC’s primetime broadcast within a 27 second discussion of Norway’s dominance in cross country skiing. Bjørgen’s feats have historically received little primetime broadcast coverage, and this history making medal was no exception. She was not the subject of a feature, nor was she interviewed on Thursday night’s broadcast.
These figures will be updated to include a running total of percentages for men’s and women’s events soon.
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.