Men’s sports received more coverage than women’s on NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast on Friday, August 6, 2021, by almost a 3 to 1 margin.
On the men’s side, three sports received more than one minute of coverage. Basketball had more than 1 hour and 50 minutes with NBC’s live coverage of the finals where Team USA won gold. Track and field had more than 21 minutes with coverage of the heats in the 4×400 meter relay, the finals for the 5000 meter which saw American Paul Chelimo win bronze, and the 4×100 meter relay. Diving also had more than 21 minutes with coverage of the prelims in the platform diving competition.
On the women’s side, only one sport had more than one minute of coverage. Track and field had coverage of the women’s marathon as American Molly Seidel won bronze, the finals of the 400 meter where Team USA’s Allyson Felix won bronze, the 1,500 meter finals, and the 4×100 meter relay.
Overall, men’s events received 74.79% of the coverage on Friday night, compared to 25.21% for women. Mixed sex events did not receive any airtime.
When mixed sex events are excluded, men have received 43.64% of the total coverage, compared to 56.36% 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.