Women dominated NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast television coverage by almost a 3:1 margin on February 18, 2018. Women scored a full hour of additional airtime compared to men on Sunday nights broadcast.
On the men’s side, bobsled carried the majority of the coverage and there was just over a minute of biathlon. All other men’s sports shown were on the screen for less than a minute each. On the women’s side alpine skiing, snowboarding, and speed skating drove the coverage. There was also just over a minute devoted to women’s ice hockey and a few other women’s sports had less than 15 seconds each. Pairs events also received significant coverage as it was the first night of the ice dancing competition.
The distribution of NBC’s Olympic coverage on Sunday night was 45.48% for women’s events, while men’s events received 17.65% of the broadcast. The mixed pair event accounted for 36.87% of the broadcast.
When mixed pair events are excluded, the percentages were 72.04% for women and 27.96% for men.
After 11 nights, men have received more coverage than women on NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast, but the gap was closed some last night. With ladies figure skating still on deck, the gap is likely to shrink even further over the next several days.
Regular updates about NBC’s coverage of men and women athletes will be posted throughout the 2018 Winter Games on FiveRingTV.com. A final report will be issued after the Games conclude.
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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.