NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast showed male athletes more than female athletes by approximately a 2.3 to 1 margin on February 24, 2018.
On the men’s side coverage of bobsled, curling, figure skating, and speed skating led the way Saturday, while six other men’s events were seen in montages or brief recaps of the previous day’s medal events.
On the women’s side alpine skiing (an interview with Lindsay Vonn), figure skating, and speed skating had the most airtime. Five other women’s events were seen in montages or brief recaps of the previous day’s medal events.
The pairs coverage pairs figure skating and ice dancing at the figure skating gala.
The distribution of NBC’s Olympic coverage on Saturday night was 61.23% for men’s events, while women’s and mixed pair events received 26.62% and 12.15% of the broadcast respectively.
When mixed pair events are excluded, the percentages were 69.70% for men and 30.30% for women.
After 17 nights, women have received more coverage than men on NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast, though the total amount of airtime devoted to women this Olympiad has decreased from a peak of 55.23% after Day 15 (after mixed pairs are excluded) to 51.87% after Day 17. During the first 10 nights of the Games, men received more coverage than women by almost a 3 to 2 margin. Days 11-15 marked a dramatic change, as NBC’s focused more on women by a more than 4 to 1 margin. This major shift resulted in women receiving 55.23% of the total coverage when mixed pairs are excluded, but that number has since moved closer to 50% territory.
Based on information provided by NBC, it is predicted women will receive more primetime coverage than men in PyeongChang. Such an occurrence would be historic as women have never received more primetime airtime than men in a Winter Olympiad dating back to 1994 when the studies began. This may, however, change based on how NBC programs Sunday night.
Regular updates about NBC’s coverage of men and women athletes are 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.