Women’s sports received more coverage than men’s sports during NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast on Monday, February 14, 2022, by more than a 10 to 1 margin.
Two men’s events were featured: bobsled and curling. Bobsled had 14 minutes of coverage for the start of the two-man bobsled competition. Curling was shown for just over a minute for coverage of the Team USA match against Switzerland.
Four women’s events were featured for more than one minute. Freestyle skiing had 1 hour and 30 minutes of coverage for the finals of both the slopestyle and aerial competitions. The aerial finals featured Team USA’s Megan Nick winning the bronze medal. Alpine skiing had 1 hour and 2 minutes of airtime for the downhill event. Figure skating was shown for 3 minutes with coverage surrounding the doping scandal involving Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva. Speed skating had 2 minutes of coverage centered on Team USA’s Erin Jackson and the airing of her medal ceremony.
Overall, coverage of men’s events accounted for 8.79% of NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast. Women’s events received 91.04% of NBC’s coverage. Mixed sex events (e.g., ice dancing) received 0.17% of NBC’s coverage.
After 12 nights, when mixed sex events are excluded, men’s events have received 42.97% of NBC’s primetime broadcast coverage compared to 57.03% 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 DVR or DVD 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. Split screens combining commercials and live coverage are included in the calculation, but commercial breaks are not included. The NBC broadcast network East Coast feed was used for this calculation. 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 this calculation.
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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.