Women’s sports received more than 5 times the coverage of men’s sports during NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast on Sunday, February 6, 2022.
On the men’s side, the only events that received at least one minute of airtime were the luge finals, and alpine skiing, where NBC noted the men’s downhill event postponed from the day before would air in the overnight hours.
On the women’s side, freestyle skiing earned more than 41 minutes of coverage. The freestyle skiing coverage included moguls, where Team USA’s Jaelin Kauf won silver, and a portion of the big air qualification round. More than 38 minutes were dedicated to women’s alpine skiing and more than 37 minutes to women’s figure skating for the free skate competition of the team event.
In mixed sex events, NBC aired more than 29 minutes of ice dancing and more than 25 minutes of pairs figure skating, both for the team event where Team USA won a silver medal.
Overall, coverage of men’s events accounted for 11.00% of NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast. Women’s events received 60.96% of NBC’s coverage. Mixed sex events (e.g., ice dancing) received 28.04% of NBC’s coverage.
After 4 nights, when mixed sex events are excluded, men’s events have received 36.25% of NBC’s primetime broadcast coverage compared to 63.75% for women’s events.
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.