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After the 17-day Olympic run, U.S. and Canadian broadcasters are reporting record-breaking coverage and viewership rates in women’s sporting events.
The coverage of women’s sports on NBC’s evening Olympic broadcast accounted for nearly three-fifths of the station's total media coverage during the Games, according to the Canadian Women & Sport organization.
Women's events dominated USA TV coverage,” @andrewcbillings said, “but they led even more in the medals table.” #HeresProof people watch Women's Sport.https://t.co/8Pg8K9tWEy pic.twitter.com/cj39EWrrQE
— Canadian Women & Sport | Femmes et sport Canada (@WomenandSportCA) August 10, 2021
The released Monday showed that women’s sports made up 57.55 per cent of NBC's primetime broadcast, whereas men’s sports made up 41.75 per cent of the broadcast. The remaining 0.70 per cent of sports coverage was on mixed-sex sporting events.
It’s not the first time women’s sporting events had a higher share of media coverage during the Olympics.
In the past eight years, four out of the five Olympic Games broadcasted more women’s sporting events than men’s on NBC’s evening broadcast, but the Tokyo 2020 numbers present the largest margin to date.
When looking at Canadian broadcasters, that out of all the sporting events that were streamed and televised, four out of the five most viewed moments during the Olympics were women’s events. The most watched events included the women’s gold medal soccer game, the 4x100-metre medley relay, the 100-metre freestyle swimming event, and Penny Oleksiak’s 200-metre freestyle final, which was tied with the men’s 4x100-metre relay heats in track and field as the fifth most viewed event.
The Canada-Sweden soccer game – which was the most-watched event on CBC during the Olympic stint – had 4.4 million Canadians across the country watching.
A peak TV audience of 4.4 million watched live on CBC to cheer on the Canadian women’s soccer team’s historic gold medal win, with an additional 725,000 live video views on digital platforms, making this Canada’s most-watched moment of Tokyo 2020.
— Anastasia Bucsis (@anastasure) August 10, 2021
Some national viewing figures from the #TokyoOlympics women's football tournament in certain countries:
🇦🇺 @TheMatildas: 2.32 million vs. Sweden (new record)
🇳🇱 @oranjevrouwen: 2.4 million vs. USA
🇨🇦 @CanadaSoccerEN: 4.4 million vs. Sweden
The growth of women's football 👏
— Emma Coolen (@emmacoolen24) August 8, 2021
On top of having higher viewership numbers, Canadian women also led the charge on the podium.
Out of the 24 medals Canada was awarded in Tokyo, 18 of them were won in women’s events. Of the medals won, five were gold, five were silver and eight were bronze.
From medals, to media coverage, to the number of people watching women’s sports, history was made at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. With the Paralympics set to start at the end of August, Team Canada’s women will continue to represent the country and potentially break more records, with 71 women being sent to Tokyo to compete.
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