NBC devoted more time to women’s sports than men’s for the fourth night in a row, and the fifth time in six nights, during its primetime Olympic broadcast on Sunday, August 1, 2021. Women’s coverage more than doubled the men’s Sunday night.
Three men’s events received more than one minute of coverage. Track & field had more than 50 minutes, with American Fred Kerley winning silver in the 100 meter dash. Swimming had more than 7 minutes, primarily driven by an interview with Caeleb Dressel, the American swimmer who won five gold medals in Tokyo. Golf clocked in at more than 1 minute due to American Xander Schauffele winning gold and the playoff for bronze.
Four women’s events received more than one minute of coverage. Track & field received more than 48 minutes of airtime, as American Kendra Harrison won silver in the 100 meter hurdles. Gymnastics had more than 40 minutes of airtime with Americans MyKayla Skinner and Suni Lee winning silver on the vault and bronze on the uneven bars respectively. Beach volleyball was featured for more than 35 minutes, with the focus on Team USA’s April Ross and Alix Klineman beating Cuba’s Echevarria Benitez and LC.Martinez Ortega. Finally, soccer had more than 2 minutes, with a promo video for the U.S. semifinal match against Canada.
Krysta Palmer won an individual medal for diving for the U.S. – the first individual medal in the sport for an American since the Sydney Games in 2000 – yet women’s diving only received 31 seconds of coverage. Diving, which has long been a force in primetime, does not have the same presence it did in years past.
Overall, men’s events received 32.32% of the coverage on Sunday night, compared to 67.69% for women. Mixed sex events did not receive any coverage. (Amounts equal more than 100% due to rounding.)
When mixed sex events are excluded, men have received 41.21% of the coverage, compared to 58.79% 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.