NBC dedicated more time to women’s sports than men’s for the third night in a row, and the fourth time in five nights, during its primetime Olympic broadcast on Saturday, July 31, 2021.
Three men’s sports received one minute or more of primetime coverage. Swimming, which featured American Bobby Finke’s gold in the 1,500 freestyle, Caeleb Dressel’s gold in the 50 freestyle, and Team USA setting a world record while winning gold in the 4×100 medley relay, dominated the men’s coverage with more than 51 minutes. Golf had more than 3 minutes of final round of play, and track and field clocked in more than 2 minutes of coverage.
Four women’s sports had more than one minute of primetime coverage. Beach volleyball, with over 49 minutes, had the most airtime. Track and field had more than 25 minutes devoted to the 100 meter dash semifinals and the finals. Swimming, which included a Team USA silver in the 4×100 medley relay, received more than 18 minutes of coverage while gymnastics had exactly one minute of airtime focusing on a Simone Biles update.
The mixed sex events were equestrian (37 seconds) as well as coverage of two new events: Mixed Team Judo (29 seconds) and Mixed Trap Team in Shooting (27 seconds).
Overall, men’s events received 38.20% of the coverage on Saturday night, compared to 60.81% for women. Mixed sex events received 0.99% of the coverage.
When mixed sex events are excluded, men have received 42.49% of the coverage, compared to 57.51% 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.