Tokyo Olympics Primetime Report Day 1: NBC Devotes More Coverage To Women Than Men

NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast on Friday, July 23, 2021, primarily focused on the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony, with little coverage dedicated to specific athletes and sports outside of the ceremony. There were, however, some montages of various events, interviews with some athletes, and some preview packages.

On the men’s side, the only sports receiving 30 seconds or more of coverage were baseball (due to one of the flag bearers being Eddy Alvarez), swimming (Caleb Dressel highlighted), and track & field.

On the women’s side, gymnastics received the most coverage, at 4 minutes and 21 seconds. Soccer received 2 minutes and 56 seconds of clock-time, in part due to an interview with Megan Rapinoe. Both swimming and track & field each had more than 30 seconds of coverage.

Equestrian was responsible for the lone second of mixed sex event coverage, which appeared in the opening event montage. 

Of the 13 minutes and 6 seconds NBC allotted to specific athletes and sports in primetime,* women received 74.36% of the coverage, compared to 25.52% for men and 0.13% for mixed sex events.

Tokyo NBC Day 1 Mixed

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When mixed sex events were excluded, women received 74.45% of the coverage compared to 25.55% for men.

Tokyo NBC Day 1 No Mixed

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Regular updates about NBC’s coverage of men and women athletes will be posted throughout the 2021 Tokyo Summer Games on Additional updates will be posted on the @FiveRingTV Twitter feed. A mid-Olympic report, with complete sport-by-sport coverage breakdowns, will also be issued.

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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 or DVR 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. 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 the calculations.

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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 a detailed overview of Olympic television history. Published by Routledge, it is available in hardcover, paperback and ebook formats at, the Routledge website, and other outlets.