Beijing Olympics Primetime Coverage Report Day 1: Men Lead NBC’s Coverage

In a broadcast centered around team figure skating and moguls freestyle skiing, men received a significant portion of NBC’s primetime Olympic coverage on Thursday, February 3, 2022.

The men’s short program for team figure skating accounted for the bulk of men’s coverage, with more than 56 minutes of airtime. Other men’s events that received more than one minute of coverage included freestyle skiing (more than 18 minutes for qualifying runs in the moguls events) and curling (more than a minute recapping Team USA’s gold from 2018 and the naming of John Shuster as the U.S. flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony).

On the women’s side, freestyle skiing (with more than 19 minutes for qualifying rounds in moguls) and ice hockey (just over one minute to cover Team USA’s win over Finland) were the only sports with more than one minute of airtime.

The mixed sex coverage was driven by ice dancing’s rhythm dance program in the team figure skating event with more than 1 hour and 3 minutes of coverage.

Overall, coverage of men’s events accounted for 47.62% of NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast on Thursday night. Women’s and mixed sex events (e.g., ice dancing) received 12.94% and 39.44% of NBC’s coverage respectively.

NBC Beijing Day 1 Mixed

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When mixed sex events are excluded, men received 78.63% of NBC’s coverage compared to 21.37% for women.

NBC Beijing Day 1 No Mixed

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Regular updates about NBC’s coverage of men and women athletes will be posted throughout the 2022 Beijing Winter Games on FiveRingTV.com. Additional updates will also be posted on the @FiveRingTV Twitter feed. A mid-Olympic report, with complete sport-by-sport coverage breakdowns, will also be issued.

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Method: 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. Olympic coverage on 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.