Women set new viewership record at Tokyo Olympics

TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 01: (L-R) Bronze medalist Kylie Masse, Sydney Pickrem, Margaret Macneil and Penny Oleksiak of Team Canada pose after the medal ceremony for the Women's 4 x 100m Medley Relay Final on day nine of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on August 01, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)
The 4x100-metre medley relay was the second-most watched event on CBC. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

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.

The report 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, CBC reported Tuesday 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.

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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