NBC dedicated more time to women’s sports than men’s for the third time in four nights during its primetime Olympic broadcast on Friday, July 30, 2021.
The men’s events with more than one minute of content broadcast were swimming (more than 27 minutes, with American Caeleb Dressel swimming three times) and track & field (more than 21 minutes).
For women, there were five sports that had more than a minute of coverage: track and field (more than 40 minutes), swimming (more than 33 minutes), beach volleyball (more than 7 minutes), gymnastics (more than 2 minutes with the announcement of Simone Biles withdrawing from the vault and uneven bars finals), and soccer (just over a minute).
Two mixed sex events received more than one minute of airtime: The inaugural 4×100 mixed medley relay in swimming (approximately 11 1/2 minutes) and the inaugural mixed 4×400 meter relay in track and field (approximately 1 1/2 minutes).
Overall, men’s events received 33.90% of the coverage on Friday night, compared to 57.27% for women. Mixed sex events received 8.83% of the coverage.
When mixed sex events are excluded, men have received 43.01% of the coverage, compared to 56.99% 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 for the first seven nights of the Tokyo Olympic Games is posted here.
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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. 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.
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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 Amazon.com, the Routledge website, and other outlets.