Men’s sports received more than double the coverage of women’s sports during NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.
Men’s and women’s swimming received the bulk of the coverage with Team USA adding 5 more medals to its total.
NBC dedicated more than 58 minutes to men’s swimming, as Americans Bobby Finke and Caeleb Dressel won gold medals in the debut of men’s 800 freestyle and the men’s 100 freestyle respectively.
Women’s swimming received more than 43 minutes of coverage. Americans Regan Smith and Hali Flickinger won silver and bronze in 200 butterfly. Team USA also posted a silver in the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay, an event that also saw China set a new world record.
Men’s gymnastics received more than 29 minutes of coverage. Men’s diving, where Team USA’s Andrew Capobianco and Mike Hixon claimed a silver medal in synchro 3 meter diving, received more than 22 minutes of coverage. The other two men’s sports with more than one minute of coverage were beach volleyball (more than 3 minutes) and golf (more than 2 minutes).
On the women’s side, the only sport besides swimming to receive more than one minute of coverage was gymnastics, with over 11 minutes of airtime. Team USA’s gold medal in the debut of women’s 3×3 basketball did not translate to primetime network coverage.
Overall, men’s events received 67.74% of the coverage on Wednesday night, compared to 32.36% for women. Mixed sex events received did not receive any coverage.
After six days, when mixed sex events are excluded, men have received 46.11% of the total coverage, compared to 53.89% for women.
Regular updates about NBC’s coverage of men and women athletes will be posted throughout the 2021 Tokyo Summer Games on FiveRingTV.com. 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 on July 30.
—– —– —–
* 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. The NBC broadcast network East Coast feed was used for the calculations. Olympic coverage on affiliated 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.
—– —– —–
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 Amazon.com, the Routledge website, and other outlets.