Research and post the names and incomes of the three highest-paid male athletes in the world and the three highest-paid female athletes.

Research and post the names and incomes of the three highest-paid male athletes in the world and the three highest-paid female athletes. Compare their incomes. Then, using ONLY the information from the paragraphs I have provided below, explain the main economic reason the pay is different. Minimum 170 words.

 

Target Audiences

 

Cornerstone: Stories and images are told to attract certain audiences and to exclude others. This is done to simplify the storytelling process and to deliver specific audiences to specific advertisers.

 

Gatekeeping

 

There are more than seven billion people on the planet. There is not room in a newspaper or on a television broadcast to tell the story of what each one of those people do every day. Editors, news producers, reporters, photographers, movie producers, every day make decisions on which stories and images to publish and which to ignore.

 

This process is known as gatekeeping. Some stories are chosen and get through the gate, others are kept out.

 

The criteria for gatekeeping varies, but the underlying principle always is the same. Stories are chosen for their ability to help the media company achieve its goal, which is to maximize profits.

 

A common fundamental misunderstanding about the mass commercial media can be explained by the process of gatekeeping. The specific, verifiable facts presented in mass commercial media texts usually are true. Bias and inaccuracies are created by leaving things out. This process is called lying by omission or exclusionary detailing. Media companies engage in this process on a regular basis, as there is no requirement that they publish or broadcast everything that is known about a particular topic or issue.

 

So which parts of the story get told? Media companies tell the parts of the story that help them achieve their goals. Mass media texts are designed specifically to attract a particular target audience. They do so by telling that audience that they are valuable, that their goals are important, that their needs are justified and deserve to be met, that their value system is correct and that they are as good as anyone – if not better.

 

Fox News selects one set of facts that fit with its audience’s world view. MSNBC does the same. Each then brings out a series of experts who offer opinion that supports the interpretation that makes the target audience happy. The end result is a world view so different that, if you watched the newscasts on the same day, you’d wonder if they were reporting about events on the same planet!

 

Women In Sports

 

The media representation of sports is not a game. It is a fundamental frame through which large portions of our society – particularly heterosexual males – are taught to see the world. As USC professor Michael Messner says:

 

“There’s another social cost. Sports are more than entertainment. They tell us stories about who we are and promote values that are important to our understanding of women’s and men’s roles in families and public life. In the not too distant past, the story that sports told was that men were naturally superior to women, and were thus destined to dominate in politics, religion and medicine. The producers and editors (nearly all male) of TV sports news and highlights shows are helping to keep this outdated story alive by virtually ignoring women’s sports.”

 

So the stories of sports are critical shapers of society’s views about gender and capabilities. And women are largely excluded from this entire segment of the media environment. Messner’s latest survey of television coverage of women’s sports, published in 2015, showed that female athletes received less coverage in 2014 than they did in 1989.

 

Gatekeeping explains why this has taken place, and the impact that it has on our society.

 

Preserving The Stereotype

 

As explained previously, stereotypes function best as communication tools when they are stable and easily identified. Portraying women as objects of sexual desire and nurturer/caregivers sharpens and strengthens the media definition of femininity.

 

Deviating from that definition by showing women performing different roles – and receiving social approval or self-esteem by doing so – makes the stereotype less useful in terms of its ability to communicate a specific idea.

 

Sports is the arena where power, aggression and competition are rewarded. These characteristics conflict with the characteristics of the media-defined “good woman.”

 

Portraying women as successful in the world of sports would portray powerful, aggressive and competitive women as successful. And portraying this in a positive manner would not help preserve an ideology about femininity that sells clothing, cosmetics, over-the- counter medicines and groceries.

 

So to preserve the stereotype, women athletes and women’s sports are generally ignored.

 

What female athletes we do see are paid less – by a margin – than male athletes. Why? Well, if you’ve ready carefully so far this semester, you already know where to start looking for the answer – money. Everything that happens in your media environment is driven by the profit motive.

 

For generally historical and cultural reasons, sports with male athletes draw bigger audiences that sports with female athletes. The function of sports is to attract an audience that can be sold to advertisers. So the bigger the audience, the more money in that particular industry. Men’s soccer draws a much larger audience than women’s soccer. So men’s soccer makes a ton more money than women’s soccer. So the male athletes are paid more money. Simple, huh?

 

Attracting A Male Audience

 

Portraying males as the ones who have the abilities to compete in sports helps attract males by portraying that gender as fundamentally superior to women.

 

If sports rewards power, aggression, intelligence and competition, and only men are fit to engage in sports, then men and only men are powerful, aggressive, intelligent and competitive.

 

An analysis of the very few women athletes who are seen in our mass commercial media environment shows that they are seen because they fit within the broader definitions of the “good woman.”

 

Every year, the highest-paid female athlete in the world plays tennis. Tennis is a non-contact sport in which the attire reveals the athlete’s body. A comparison of the performance of and the attire worn in American football and tennis illustrates the point. Football requires armor and padding and rewards the ability to commit and survive acts of violence. Tennis requires shorts and skirts and sleeveless tops, and does not allow contact. Even in recent years, when WNBA players are more often seen than female tennis players, the only force driving the change is the NBA.

 

The most prevalent image of women in sports programming is that of cheerleader, which fits neatly into the role of object of sexual desire. And, as you will see in the next reading, women athletes are far more likely than males to be presented in their roles as a parent.

 

Homogeneous Audiences

 

Why is this so important? To greatly simplify a complex economic process, the price of an advertisement generally is based on the total number of people it reaches.

 

So a television show, for example, that reaches ten million people, split equally between males and females, might charge $250,000 for a 30-second commercial. (These numbers are hypothetical to illustrate a phenomenon and are not intended as examples of real-world television commercial pricing.) That is a cost of 2.5 cents per viewer.

 

This is fine if the advertiser intends to reach all ten million people. However, many advertisers do not want to reach all ten million of those people, because many members of that audience are not potential customers. Males prefer beer as their alcoholic beverage to a far greater degree than females do. So a beer advertiser would be paying the cost of reaching ten million people, but only five million potential customers – the males watching the show. The cost of reaching the males now doubles to 5.0 cents for each viewer that the beer company actually wants to reach.

 

Sports to the rescue. ESPN.com’s readership is nearly 95 percent male. It is an example of the gender-homogeneous audience that sports programming generates. A sports television program that attracted five million viewers would charge half the rate of a program that attracted ten million – in our example, $125,000 for a 30-second commercial. Yet if that audience was 95 percent male, the program would reach 4.75 million males. Cost per male viewer? Back down to 2.63 cents per viewer.

 

Removing women from the audience has another effect. It allows for the storyteller to use images and narratives of women that are designed to attract the attention of heterosexual men. The sports media landscape is flooded with images of young, attractive women in roles and attire designed to emphasize their sexual desirability.

 

As women athletes are removed from the media landscape, and sports programming depicts men as having the characteristics of power, aggression, intelligence and competitiveness, audiences also learn the characteristics of women. The media sports environment teaches audiences that women lack the characteristics required to succeed in sports.

 

Target Audiences And Reality

 

To connect the dots for this chapter:

 

Gatekeeping suggests that some stories get left out of our media environment.

Key Ideas Three and Four suggest that the stories that are left out are the ones that don’t generate the right audiences and therefore don’t maximize profits.

And the stories that make it through the gate are the ones that attract the specific audience that the media company wants to deliver to its advertisers or supporters.

The depiction of men and women, and people of different races, religions, ethnicities, etc., varies widely in our media environment, depending on the target audience of a media company or individual story.

 

The representation of women on programs broadcast by Lifetime TV varies dramatically from the representation of women on ESPN. Both are owned by the same companies. So each network has access to a wide variety of programming in which women play a wide range of roles and exhibit a wide range of characteristics.

 

Yet Lifetime doesn’t broadcast football games, and ESPN doesn’t broadcast, for example, a reality show about the mothers of young dance students. Each channel attracts a different audience. And the stories that are broadcast on each channel privilege the world views and self-images of the audiences those channels are designed to capture and deliver to the advertisers who want to reach those audiences and only those audiences.

 

“IT’S DUDE TIME!’’: A QUARTER CENTURY OF EXCLUDING WOMEN’S SPORTS IN TELEVISED NEWS AND HIGHLIGHT SHOWS

CHERYL COOKY1, MICHAEL A. MESSNER2, AND MICHELA MUSTO2

VIEWERS OF TV SPORTS NEWS BROADCASTS WATCHING LOS ANGELES LOCAL NEWS AFFILIATES

KNBC, KABC, AND KCBS ON THE EVENING OF JULY 14, 1989, SAW NO COVERAGE OF

WOMEN’S SPORTS. INSTEAD, SEVERAL SHOTS OF FEMALE SPECTATORS WERE SHOWN, INCLUDING

ONE OF A LARGE-BREASTED WOMAN WEARING A TANK TOP AT A MINNESOTA TWINS BASEBALL

GAME. THE COMMENTATOR QUERIED, ‘‘ISN’T BASEBALL A GREAT SPORT? JUST BRINGS OUT THE

BEST IN EVERYONE! OKAY, I KNOW WE’LL GET COMPLAINTS, BUT IT’S NOT LIKE WE SNUCK INTO

HER BACKYARD AND TOOK HER PICTURE. WE’RE TALKING PUBLIC PLACE HERE!’’

THAT SAME MONTH, DURING THE JULY 25, 1989, BROADCAST, THE ONLY MENTION OF A FEMALE ATHLETE WAS ESSENTIALLY A GAG FEATURE. FOOTAGE SHOWED GOLFER PATTY SHEEHAN DRIVING HER BALL

STRAIGHT INTO THE WATER. THE COMMENTATOR SAID, ‘‘WHOA! THAT SHOT NEEDS JUST A LITTLE

WORK, PATTY. SHE WAS OUT OF THE HUNT IN THE BOSTON BIG FIVE CLASSIC.’’ THE FOLLOWING

STORY SHOWED A MAN MAKING A HOLE IN ONE AT A MINIATURE GOLF TOURNAMENT, AND THE REST

OF THE BROADCAST COVERED ONLY MEN’S SPORTS.

ON JULY 21, 2014, A DAY ON WHICH NONE OF THE LOS ANGELES NETWORK AFFILIATE NEWS

SHOWS DEVOTED A SECOND OF TIME TO WOMEN’S SPORTS, KNBC SPENT 44-S COVERING

LAKERS STAR KOBE BRYANT PLAYING IN A CELEBRITY SOFTBALL GAME. ‘‘HE SHOWED HIS HOME

RUN SWING!’’ THE COMMENTATOR GUSHED AS VIEWERS SAW FOOTAGE OF BRYANT’S ‘‘TOWERING

SHOT!’’ THE SAME SPORTS NEWS SEGMENT DEVOTED FOOTAGE AND COVERAGE OF NATIONAL

BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION (NBA) PLAYER LEBRON JAMES’ 9-YEAR-OLD SON WHO, THE COMMENTATOR

PREDICTED, IN 7 YEARS ‘‘WILL LIKELY BE RECRUITED BY EVERY COLLEGE BASKETBALL

PROGRAM IN THE COUNTRY.’’

LATER THAT WEEK, ON JULY 26, DURING THEIR EXTENDED WEEKEND

BROADCAST, KNBC EMBEDDED IN ITS COVERAGE OF MOSTLY MEN’S BASEBALL, FOOTBALL, AND

BASKETBALL A BLAND-BUT-RESPECTFUL STORY ON WOMEN’S NBA (WNBA) GAMES, AND

KABC CONCLUDED ITS 11 P.M. SHOW WITH A SEGMENT ON THE WORLD SERIES OF PRO BEACH

VOLLEYBALL THAT INCLUDED THIS COMMENTARY: YOUR WEEKEND WOULDN’T BE COMPLETE WITHOUT A LITTLE VOLLEYBALL. KERRI WALSH JENNINGS AND APRIL ROSS TAKING ON TEAM SLOVAKIA IN THE SEMI-FINALS, LOOKING FOR THEIR 4TH WIN OF THE TOUR. EASILY DISPATCHING THE SLOVAKIANS IN THE FIRST SET, THEY LOST THE 2ND SET, SO IT WAS DECIDED IN THREE. AND TEAM USA ADVANCES TO THAT GOLD MEDAL GAME, SO IF YOU’VE GOT NOTHING ELSE TO DO, COOL OFF TOMORROW DOWN AT THE BEACH IN LONG BEACH.

AT FIRST GLANCE, THE PRESENTATION OF GENDER IN THE TELEVISED SPORTS NEWS AND THE

ESPN SPORTSCENTER BROADCASTS WE HAVE NOW STUDIED FOR THE PAST 25 AND 15 YEARS,

RESPECTIVELY, DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE CHANGED MUCH. THE SHOWS COVER MEN’S SPORTS

NEARLY ALL THE TIME, EVEN TO THE POINT OF FEATURING STORIES ON OUT-OF-SEASON MEN’S

SPORTS. HOWEVER, THE TWO SEGMENTS WE HIGHLIGHT ABOVE HINT AT SOME QUALITATIVE

CHANGES OVER TIME.

OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS, PORTRAYAL OF WOMEN ATHLETES HAS BECOME

INCREASINGLY ‘‘RESPECTFUL,’’ AND NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS COMMENTATORS HAVE BECOME FAR

LESS LIKELY TO JOKE ABOUT WOMEN OR PORTRAY WOMEN AS SEXUAL OBJECTS. ADVOCATES OF

EQUITY AND FAIRNESS FOR WOMEN’S SPORTS WILL LIKELY APPLAUD THE NEAR DISAPPEARANCE OF

OVERTLY SEXUALIZED AND INSULTING COVERAGE OF WOMEN.

The ‘‘good news’’ of the increasingly respectful coverage of women’s sports is, we will show, more than eclipsed by two factors: The deepening quantitative dearth of coverage of women’s

 

SPORTS AND THE WAYS IN WHICH THE CONTINUOUS CACOPHONY OF EXCITING COVERAGE OF

MEN’S SPORTS IS COUNTERPOISED WITH THE TENDENCY TO PRESENT MOST OF THE FEW WOMEN’S

SPORTS STORIES IN A MATTER-OF-FACT, UNINSPIRING, AND LACKLUSTER MANNER.

IN THIS STUDY, WE PRESENT THE FINDINGS OF THE MOST RECENT ITERATION OF OUR NOW

25-YEAR LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF GENDER IN TELEVISED SPORTS NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS SHOWS.

IN HIGHLIGHTING CONTINUITIES AND DIFFERENCES IN THE QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF COVERAGE OF

WOMEN’S AND MEN’S SPORTS OVER TIME, WE SUGGEST THESE PATTERNS ARE BEST UNDERSTOOD

AS INDICATORS NOT OF SOME ‘‘STALLED REVOLUTION’’ BUT RATHER OF THE UNEVENNESS OF SOCIAL

CHANGE. WE END WITH SEVERAL POLICY IMPLICATIONS OF OUR FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS.

THE GENDER IN TELEVISED SPORTS STUDY

THE LONGITUDINAL RESEARCH FOR THIS STUDY WAS FIRST GATHERED IN 1989, WITH FOLLOW-UP

STUDIES CONDUCTED IN 1993, 1999, 2004, 2009, AND 2014, WITH EACH REPORT FROM THESE

STUDIES PUBLISHED IN THE YEAR FOLLOWING THE DATA GATHERING. THIS BODY OF RESEARCH, WHICH INCLUDES STUDIES OF THE COVERAGE OF LIVE TELEVISED SPORTS EVENTS, PRINT, ONLINE, SOCIAL, AND TELEVISED NEWS MEDIA COVERAGE OF SPORTS AS WELL AS THE IMPLICATIONS OF MEDIA COVERAGE FOR WOMEN’S SPORTS, CONSISTENTLY FIND THAT, WITH MINOR EXCEPTION FOR QUALITY OF MEDIA COVERAGE, PARTICULARLY DURING THE OLYMPICS (BILLINGS & YOUNG, 2015; HARDIN, CHANCE, DODD, & HARDIN, 2002), AND FOR SOME COLLEGIATE-BASED MEDIA OUTLETS (KANE & BUYSSEE, 2005; MCKAY & DALLIERE, 2009), THE VAST MAJORITY OF MEDIA COVERAGE CENTERS ON MEN’S SPORTS AND MALE

ATHLETES.

FOR EXAMPLE, IN THEIR RECENT STUDY COMPARING COVERAGE OF ESPN’S SPORTSCENTER AND FOX SPORTS 1’S FOX SPORTS LIVE, BILLINGS AND YOUNG (2015) FOUND

THAT EACH PROGRAM FEATURED WOMEN’S SPORTS COVERAGE LESS THAN 1% OF THE TIME, WITH

SOME ‘‘MODEST GAINS’’ DURING THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY DURING THE OLYMPICS. MOREOVER,

WOMEN’S SPORTS CONTINUES TO BE COVERED IN WAYS THAT CONVEY THE MESSAGE TO

AUDIENCES THAT WOMEN’S SPORT IS LESS IMPORTANT, LESS EXCITING, AND, THEREFORE, LESS

VALUED THAN MEN’S SPORTS (COOKY ET AL., 2013; GREER, HARDIN, & HOMAN, 2009).

OUR CENTRAL AIM OF THIS STUDY IS TO EXAMINE CHANGE AND CONTINUITY OVER TIME. AS

SUCH, IN 2014, WE REPLICATED PREVIOUS ITERATIONS OF THE STUDY. THE DESIGN AND METHODS

OF DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS (BOTH QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE) WERE IDENTICAL

TO THOSE OF THE 1989, 1993, 1999, 2004, AND 2009 STUDIES (SEE COOKY ET AL., 2013).

AS WITH PRIOR STUDIES (SEE COOKY ET AL., 2013), SEVERAL RESEARCH QUESTIONS INFORM THE

2014 STUDY: IN WHAT WAYS DO TELEVISED SPORTS NEWS MEDIA COVER MEN’S AND WOMEN’S

SPORTS EVENTS? WHAT IS THE AMOUNT OF COVERAGE GIVEN TO MEN’S SPORTS AND TO WOMEN’S

SPORTS? DO THE PRODUCTION VALUES OF MEN’S SPORTS DIFFER FROM THAT OF WOMEN’S SPORTS?

IF SO, HOW? WHAT IS THE QUALITY OF COMMENTARY OF MEN’S SPORTS? WHAT IS THE QUALITY

OF COMMENTARY OF WOMEN’S SPORTS? ARE WOMEN’S SPORTS COVERED IN WAYS THAT HIGHLIGHT

ATHLETIC COMPETENCE OR IN WAYS THAT TRIVIALIZE WOMEN’S SPORT? DOES THE COVERAGE

FOCUS ON THE COMPETITIVE ASPECTS OF WOMEN’S SPORT, INCLUDING GAMES/MATCHES,

GAME HIGHLIGHTS, SCORES AND STATISTICS, OUTCOMES, AND SIGNIFICANCE? DOES THE COVERAGE

SEXUALIZE, TRIVIALIZE, OR PORTRAY WOMEN AS OBJECTS OF SEXUALIZED HUMOR? DOES THE

COVERAGE FOCUS ON WOMEN AS WIVES, GIRLFRIENDS, AND MOTHERS? HAS THE COVERAGE OF

WOMEN’S SPORTS IN THIS DATA SAMPLE CHANGED OR REMAINED THE SAME SINCE PRIOR DATA

COLLECTION YEARS? IN OTHER WORDS, WHAT ARE THE CONTINUITIES OR DISCONTINUITIES IN THE

COVERAGE OVER THE PAST 25 YEARS?

A DEEPENING SILENCE

AS WITH PREVIOUS ITERATIONS OF OUR STUDY, VIEWERS OF THE NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS SHOWS IN

OUR SAMPLE RARELY SEE ANY MENTION OF WOMEN ATHLETES OR WOMEN’S SPORTS. AMONG THE

THREE LOCAL NETWORK AFFILIATES, ONLY 3.2% OF COVERAGE WAS DEDICATED TO WOMEN’S

SPORTS. AS FIGURE 1 SHOWS, HOWEVER, THERE IS CONSIDERABLE DIFFERENCE IN THIS REGARD

AMONG THE THREE NETWORK AFFILIATES WE STUDIED, WITH KABC DEVOTING 5.2% OF ITS

MAIN BROADCAST COVERAGE TO WOMEN’S SPORTS AND KNBC 3.9%. OVER THE SAME

6-WEEK SAMPLING PERIOD, KCBS INCLUDED ONLY ONE STORY ON WOMEN’S SPORTS—A SCANT

0.2% OF ITS TOTAL SPORTS NEWS TIME. ESPN’S SPORTSCENTER DID NO BETTER, DEVOTING A

PALTRY 2% OF ITS HOUR-LONG HIGHLIGHT SHOW TO WOMEN’S SPORTS.

HOW DO THESE 2014 FINDINGS COMPARE WITH PAST STUDIES? AS FIGURES 1A AND 2

ILLUSTRATE, THE THREE LOCAL AFFILIATE NEWS SHOWS TOGETHER DEVOTED ABOUT 5% OF THEIR

MAIN BROADCAST COVERAGE TO WOMEN’S SPORTS IN 1989 AND 1993. IN 1999, THEIR COVERAGE

OF WOMEN’S SPORTS JUMPED TO 8.7%. THE COVERAGE OF WOMEN DIPPED SLIGHTLY IN

2004 TO 6.3% AND THEN PLUMMETED TO ITS NADIR OF 1.6% IN 2009. THE SLIGHT INCREASE TO

3.2% IN OUR 2014 FINDINGS INDICATES THAT THE NEWS SHOWS’ COVERAGE OF WOMEN’S

SPORTS REMAINS SUBSTANTIALLY LOWER THAN ITS COVERAGE IN 10, 15, 20, AND 25 YEARS AGO.

SPORTSCENTER’S COVERAGE, OVER THE 4 TIME PERIODS IT WAS INCLUDED IN OUR SAMPLE

WHICH SPANS 15 YEARS (1999–2014), HAS REMAINED REMARKABLY FLAT, NEVER RISING ABOVE

2.5%, AND IN 2014, WOMEN’S SPORTS ON THE MAIN BROADCAST COVERAGE HOVERS AT A PALTRY

2.0% OF THE TOTAL BROADCAST COVERAGE.

MOREOVER, THE DEARTH OF COVERAGE OF WOMEN’S SPORTS IS EVIDENCED BY THE LOW

NUMBER OF SEGMENTS (I.E., STORIES) IN OUR SAMPLE. OF THE 934 LOCAL NETWORK AFFILIATE

NEWS SEGMENTS (OVER 12 HR OF BROADCASTS), 880 WERE ON MEN’S SPORTS (OR APPROXIMATELY

11½ HR), 22 SEGMENTS (OR NEARLY 18 MIN) WERE ON GENDER-NEUTRAL SPORTS

(E.G., A HORSE RACE, COVERAGE OF THE LOS ANGELES [LA] MARATHON, AND A RECREATIONAL

SPORTS EVENT), AND ONLY 32 SEGMENTS (ABOUT 23 MIN) FEATURED WOMEN’S SPORTS. SPORTS-

CENTER’S NUMBERS WERE SIMILAR. OF THE 405 TOTAL SPORTSCENTER SEGMENTS IN OUR SAMPLE

(NEARLY 14 HR), 376 COVERED MEN’S SPORTS (SLIGHTLY OVER 13 HR), 16 SEGMENTS WERE

ON GENDER-NEUTRAL SPORTS (JUST OVER 20 MIN), AND ONLY 13 SEGMENTS FEATURED WOMEN’S

SPORTS (APPROXIMATELY 17 MIN).

AS IN PAST STUDIES, THERE WAS LITTLE OR NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE 6 P.M. AND THE

11 P.M. EDITIONS OF THE THREE LOCAL NETWORK AFFILIATE NEWS SHOWS, IN TERMS OF COVERAGE

OF WOMEN’S SPORTS. ALSO CONSISTENT WITH PAST STUDIES, THE NOVEMBER PERIOD OF THE

2014 SAMPLE INCLUDED THE LEAST AMOUNT OF COVERAGE OF WOMEN’S SPORTS. THERE WAS

NO COVERAGE OF WOMEN’S SPORTS IN THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER ON THE LOCAL NETWORK

AFFILIATES AND ONLY 44-S OF WOMEN’S SPORTS COVERAGE (TWO SHORT SEGMENTS ON UNIVERSITY

OF CONNECTICUT’S WOMEN’S BASKETBALL) ON ESPN’S SPORTSCENTER. THE SCANT COVERAGE

OF WOMEN’S SPORTS WAS CLUSTERED IN THE MARCH (3.0%) AND JULY PERIODS (4.6%).

EQUITY/INEQUITY IN COVERAGE.

FIRST, EVERY BROADCAST OF SPORTS NEWS OR HIGHLIGHTS BEGINS WITH A LEAD STORY, CHOSEN BY BROADCASTERS BECAUSE IT IS VIEWED AS THE MOST IMPORTANT STORY OF THE DAY AND/OR BECAUSE IT IS DEEMED TO BE THE MOST INTERESTING ‘‘HOOK’’ WITH WHICH TO ENGAGE AND HOLD THE AUDIENCE. AS WITH PREVIOUS ITERATIONS, NONE OF THE NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS SHOWS IN OUR 2014 SAMPLE LED WITH A WOMEN’S SPORTS STORY.

SECOND, TRANSITIONS BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAKS IN NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS SHOWS

ARE OFTEN MARKED BY ‘‘TEASERS’’ THAT ARE INTENDED TO BUILD INTEREST AND HOLD THE AUDIENCE

FOR AN EXCITING UPCOMING STORY. OF THE 145 TEASERS WE ANALYZED IN THE LOCAL NETWORK

AFFILIATE BROADCASTS, ONLY ONE TEASER ALERTED THE AUDIENCE TO AN UPCOMING

WOMEN’S SPORTS STORY. SIMILARLY, ONLY THREE OF SPORTSCENTER’S 199 TEASERS WERE ABOUT

WOMEN’S SPORTS.

SPORTSCENTER AND TWO OF THE LOCAL NETWORK AFFILIATE SPORTS NEWS SHOWS WE ANALYZED

(KCBS AND KNBC) DEPLOYED RUNNING TICKERS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SCREEN

THROUGHOUT THE BROADCAST. TICKERS DISPLAY SCORES AND BREAKING SPORTS NEWS, MANY

OF WHICH ARE NOT COVERED IN THE SPORTS ANCHOR’S MAIN COVERAGE. IN 2014, SPORTSCENTER

DEVOTED 2.0% OF ITS TICKER TIME TO WOMEN’S SPORTS, SIMILAR TO THE SHOW’S PROPORTION

OF MAIN COVERAGE DEVOTED TO WOMEN. THE TWO NETWORK AFFILIATES, ON THE OTHER

HAND, DEVOTED SUBSTANTIALLY MORE TICKER TIME TO WOMEN’S SPORTS, 6.1%. THIS PROPORTION

OF TICKER COVERAGE REPRESENTS AN INCREASE FROM THE 3.2% TICKER TIME DEVOTED TO

WOMEN’S SPORTS BY THE TWO LOCAL AFFILIATE NEWS BROADCASTS IN OUR 2009 STUDY. BUT IT IS

ALSO NOTABLE THAT IN 2014, KCBS AND KNBC DEVOTED FAR LESS OF THEIR MAIN COVERAGE

TO WOMEN’S SPORTS—0.2% AND 3.9%, RESPECTIVELY—COMPARED TO KABC’S 5.2% COVERAGE

OF WOMEN’S SPORTS. IT IS REASONABLE TO CONCLUDE, THEREFORE, THAT THIS INCREASED

TICKER COVERAGE ON KCBS AND KNBC IN 2014 IS A DUBIOUS SIGN OF ‘‘PROGRESS.’’

INSTEAD, IT COULD BE SURMISED THAT THE SCROLLING TICKER ON THESE SHOWS FUNCTIONS AS

A KIND OF VISUAL AND TEXTUAL GHETTO FOR WOMEN’S SPORTS, ALLOWING THE SPORTS ANCHORS

TO FOCUS THEIR MAIN COVERAGE ALMOST ENTIRELY ON MEN’S SPORTS, WHILE RELEGATING

WOMEN’S SPORTS LITERALLY TO THE MARGINS OF THE SCREEN.

MEN’S BIG THREE: ‘‘IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY,’’ ‘‘TOO SOON,’’ OR ‘‘TOO LATE’’

THE COVERAGE OF SPORTS ON THE LOCAL NETWORK AFFILIATE NEWS BROADCASTS TYPICALLY COMPRISES

ONLY A FEW MINUTES OF THE TOTAL NEWS BROADCAST (EXTENDED SPORTS SHOWS ON

WEEKENDS, LIKE KCBS’ ‘‘SPORTS CENTRAL’’ ARE AN EXCEPTION). AS A RESULT, PRODUCERS

CAN ONLY CHOOSE TO COVER A FRAGMENT OF ALL OF THE SPORTS TAKING PLACE IN A TYPICAL DAY.

THE FINDINGS OF THIS STUDY DEMONSTRATE THAT IN NEARLY EVERY BROADCAST, NETWORK PRODUCERS

DECIDE TO FOCUS ON MEN’S SPORTS, RATHER THAN THE MANY WOMEN’S SPORTS THAT ARE

TAKING PLACE DAILY (SEE APPENDIX FOR A SAMPLE OF THE WOMEN’S SPORTS EVENTS THAT

OCCURRED DURING THE 6 WEEKS OF THIS STUDY). MOREOVER, AS WITH PREVIOUS ITERATIONS

OF THE REPORT, WE FOUND THAT EVEN WITH BROADCAST TIME CONSTRAINTS, NETWORKS DO FIND

TIME TO INCLUDE FREQUENT ‘‘HUMAN INTEREST’’ STORIES ON MEN’S SPORTS. HERE ARE FOUR

EXAMPLES THAT ARE APPEARED DURING BROADCASTS WHEREIN THERE WAS NO COVERAGE OF

WOMEN’S SPORTS:

KNBC’S MARCH 18, 6 P.M. SPORTS NEWS INCLUDED A 30-S SEGMENT ABOUT A

SWARM OF BEES INVADING A RED SOX VERSUS YANKEES GAME AND A 20-S SEGMENT

ABOUT AN 18-IN. CORN DOG AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE FOR US$25 AT THE ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

STADIUM.

KCBS’S MARCH 26, 11 P.M. SPORTS NEWS DEVOTED 45-S TO THE RIBBON CUTTING

CEREMONY FOR A NEW RESTAURANT THAT OPENED AT CHAVEZ RAVINE OWNED BY FORMER

DODGERS MANAGER TOMMY LASORDA.

KNBC’S JULY 22, 11 P.M. BROADCAST DEVOTED 40-S DISCUSSING WHETHER RECENTLY

TRADED LAKERS PLAYER KENDALL MARSHALL WILL BE ABLE TO FIND A GOOD BURRITO IN

MILWAUKEE. THIS SEGMENT INCLUDED A FULL-SCREEN GRAPHIC SHOWING A MAP FROM

THE MILWAUKEE BASKETBALL ARENA TO A CHIPOTLE RESTAURANT, WHILE THE COMMENTATOR

GAVE MARSHALL DIRECTIONS.

KNBC’S MARCH 18, 11 P.M. BROADCAST INCLUDED A 55-S SEGMENT ABOUT A STRAY

DOG THAT FANS AND PLAYERS SUBSEQUENTLY NAMED HANK WHO WANDERED INTO THE

MILWAUKEE BREWERS’ STADIUM. THE STORY IS ABOUT HIS ADOPTION AND THE DOG’S

NEW ROLE AS THE ‘‘SPRING TRAINING MASCOT’’ FOR THE BREWERS.

THESE EXAMPLES ILLUSTRATE THREE DYNAMICS THAT SHAPE HOW NEWS BROADCASTS BUILD

AUDIENCES FOR MEN’S SPORTS WHILE POSITIONING WOMEN’S SPORTS AS UNIMPORTANT AND

LESS INTERESTING THAN MEN’S SPORTS.

FIRST, WHILE BEING EVENT DRIVEN, SPORTS NEWS IS ALSO

PRESENTED AS ENTERTAINMENT, OFTEN INCLUDING STORIES THAT HUMOROUSLY PORTRAY THE

LIGHTER AND HUMAN SIDE OF MEN’S SPORTS.

SECOND, IF SUFFICIENT TIME EXISTS TO COVER US$25 CORN DOGS, SWARMS OF BEES, THE PROXIMITY OF CHIPOTLE TO BASKETBALL STADIUMS, AND STRAY DOGS WANDERING INTO A PROFESSIONAL SPORTS STADIUM, IT IS SIMPLY UNTRUE THAT THERE IS NOT ENOUGH TIME TO COVER WOMEN’S SPORTS. INSTEAD, PRODUCERS AND COMMENTATORS ACTIVELY CHOSE TO CONSTRUCT AN EXCITING AND PLEASURABLE EXPERIENCE FOR CONSUMING THE COVERAGE OF MEN’S SPORTS, WHILE IGNORING WOMEN’S SPORTS.

THIRD, AS THE CASE WITH THE REST OF THE SPORTS NEWS COVERAGE, MOST OF THESE STORIES FOCUS ONLY ON CERTAIN MEN’S SPORTS. PUT ANOTHER WAY, IT IS NOT JUST WOMEN’S SPORTS THAT ARE IGNORED ON THESE SHOWS.

THERE IS INEQUITABLE COVERAGE ACROSS DIFFERENT MEN’S SPORTS AS WELL. BILLINGS

AND YOUNG (2015) OBSERVE MEN’S SPORTS OTHER THAN THE ‘‘BIG THREE’’ LIKE GOLF,

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR STOCK CAR AUTO RACING, AND TENNIS ARE OFTEN RELEGATED TO

SPORTS NEWS SECONDARY PLATFORMS (ESPN3, ESPNU, AND OTHER REGIONAL NETWORKS).

SIMILARLY, AS WITH PREVIOUS ITERATIONS OF THIS STUDY, THE VAST MAJORITY OF REPORTING

IN 2014 WAS DEVOTED TO THE BIG THREE—MEN’S BASKETBALL (PROFESSIONAL AND COLLEGE),

MEN’S FOOTBALL (PROFESSIONAL AND COLLEGE), AND MEN’S BASEBALL (MOSTLY PROFESSIONAL).

AS FIGURE 3 SHOWS, THE COMBINED (MAIN AND TICKER) COVERAGE OF ALL OF THE NEWS AND

HIGHLIGHTS BROADCASTS IN OUR STUDY DEVOTED 74.5% OF THEIR TIME TO THE BIG THREE. THIS

IS SLIGHTLY HIGHER THAN THE 68% PROPORTION OF COVERAGE RECEIVED BY MEN’S BIG THREE IN

OUR 2009 STUDY.

AS WE NOTED IN OUR 2013 PUBLICATION (COOKY ET AL., 2013), ALTHOUGH SOME ARGUE

THAT THERE ARE FEWER WOMEN’S SPORTS EVENTS TO COVER, NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS SHOWS KEEP

THE FOCUS ON THE BIG THREE EVEN DURING THEIR OFF-SEASONS. FOUR EXAMPLES ILLUSTRATE THIS

PATTERN:

ON KABC’S JULY 23, 6 P.M. BROADCAST, THE NEWS ANCHOR INTRODUCED THE SPORTS

ANCHOR SAYING THAT HE WAS ‘‘GONNA TALK ABOUT COLLEGE FOOTBALL, IT’S NEVER TOO

SOON!’’ THE SPORTS ANCHOR AGREED AND BEGAN DISCUSSING A 77-S STORY THAT PREVIEWED

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES’S (UCLA) AND UNIVERSITY OF

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S (USC) SEASON-OPENERS SET TO TAKE PLACE IN LATE AUGUST.

ON KCBS’S JULY 17, 6 P.M. BROADCAST, THE SPORTS ANCHOR INTRODUCED THE BROADCAST

EXPLAINING TO VIEWERS, ‘‘WHEN I SAY NEVER, I MEAN IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO START

TALKING ABOUT THENATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE!’’ WHICH BEGAN A 78-S STORY ABOUT THE

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE (NFL) MEDIA TOUR FOR THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL.

ON KABC’S JULY 15, 6 P.M. BROADCAST, THE MAIN NEWS ANCHOR INTRODUCED THE

SPORTS ANCHOR BY SAYING, ‘‘AND YEP, IT IS A BIT EARLY IN THE YEAR, BUT IT’S NEVER

TOO SOON TO THINK ABOUT THE NBA.’’ THE SPORTS ANCHOR REPLIED, ‘‘THAT’S RIGHT,

IT’S JUST AROUND THE CORNER.’’ ALTHOUGH IT WAS STILL MIDSUMMER, HE ACKNOWLEDGED,

‘‘IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO TALK ABOUT OPENING NIGHT,’’ WHICH IS ‘‘161 MORE

SHOPPING DAYS’’ FROM NOW.

ON THE JULY 17, BROADCAST OF ESPN’S SPORTSCENTER, EMBEDDED IN A LONGER SEGMENT

ON THE NBA CLEVELAND CAVALIERS’ DEAL WITH LEBRON JAMES AND AN OFFER

EXTENDED TO KEVIN LOVE, 25-S WAS SPENT ON A STORY ABOUT A WEDDING IN AKRON,

OHIO. ESPN FEATURED A PICTURE OF A GROOM IN HIS TUX, STANDING IN FRONT OF HIS

GROOMSMEN, ALL OF WHO WORE VARIOUS LEBRON JAMES’ JERSEYS.

SUCH GENDER ASYMMETRIES OF OUT-OF-SEASON AND IN-SEASON COVERAGE OF SPORTS WERE

ESPECIALLY EVIDENT IN COVERAGE OF THE NBA VERSUS THE COVERAGE OF THE WNBA. DURING

THE PLAYING SEASON (AND ESPECIALLY DURING THE PLAYOFFS), THE NBA RECEIVES BOUNTEOUS DAILY COVERAGE ON NEWS AND SPORTSCENTER, BUT IT ALSO RECEIVES FREQUENT

OFF-SEASON COVERAGE.

AS TABLE 1 SHOWS, THE WNBA RECEIVED NEITHER THIS LAVISH IN-SEASON COVERAGE NOR

A SINGLE INSTANCE OF OFF-SEASON COVERAGE. EVEN THE LOCAL ANGLE FOR THE LOS ANGELES

WNBA TEAM TENDED TO DELIVER LITTLE POSITIVE NEWS COVERAGE. FOR EXAMPLE, ON JULY

24, KABC INCLUDED A RARE STORY ABOUT THE LOS ANGELES SPARKS WNBA LOSING THAT

DAY’S GAME. THE COMMENTATOR JOKED WITH THE NEWS ANCHORS, ‘‘MARK AND MICHELLE,

THE SPARKS: 3 AND 9, THEIR WORST START IN QUITE SOME TIME. THEY KEEP THAT UP, WE MIGHT

NOT SHOW ‘EM AGAIN! THIS IS A TOWN OF WINNERS!’’ THE SPORTS ANCHOR’S THREAT, HOWEVER,

JOKINGLY INTENDED, STOOD IN STARK CONTRAST WITH KABC’S AND THE OTHER NEWS SHOWS’

CONTINUED FIDELITY TO ONE OF THAT YEAR’S BIGGEST LOSERS, LOS ANGELES LAKERS. DESPITE

PERFORMING POORLY FOR THE SEASON, THE LAKERS STILL RECEIVED CONSISTENTLY HIGH LEVELS OF

AIRTIME BY ALL THREE LOCAL NEWS STATIONS, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY WERE IN OR OUT OF

SEASON. ON THE KABC’S 6 P.M. BROADCAST ON NOVEMBER 18, FOR EXAMPLE, THE SPORTS

ANCHOR LAMENTED, ‘‘WATCHING THE LAKERS THIS YEAR, YOU KNOW, IT’S BEEN REALLY, REALLY

TOUGH. IT’S KIND OF LIKE RIPPING A BAND-AID OFF SLOWLY.’’ BUT ANTICIPATING THE LAKERS

GAME TO BE PLAYED THAT EVENING, HE ADDED HOPEFULLY, ‘‘WELL LET’S THROW THAT BAND-AID

AWAY TONIGHT, RIGHT?’’ SIMILAR TO THE LIVED EXPERIENCE OF RACIAL MINORITIES WHEREIN THEY

CONFRONT THE EXPECTATION TO BE TWICE AS GOOD TO RECEIVE HALF THE CREDIT, WOMEN’S SPORTS

ARE HELD TO A HIGHER STANDARD THAN MEN’S: WOMEN’S SPORTS ARE DEEMED DESERVING OF COVERAGE

ONLY IF AND WHEN THEY ARE WINNERS.

ON THE RARE OCCASION THAT WOMEN’S SPORTS WERE COVERED IN 2014, BASKETBALL WAS

BY FAR THE MOST COMMONLY FEATURED SPORT, WITH 81.6% OF THE COMBINED MAIN AND

TICKER COVERAGE, AS SHOWN IN FIGURE 4.

THIS CONTINUES A SHIFT TOWARD ATTENTION TO WOMEN’S BASKETBALL THAT WE NOTED IN OUR

2009 STUDY. IN OUR PAST STUDIES, WOMEN’S TENNIS WAS MOST LIKELY TO RECEIVE COVERAGE:

43% OF ALL WOMEN’S SPORTS COVERAGE IN OUR 2004 STUDY WAS DEVOTED TO TENNIS. BY

2014, TENNIS HAD SHRUNK TO 6.4%OF WOMEN’S SPORTS COVERAGE, A DISTANT SECOND TO BASKETBALL

(GOLF, AT 5.9%, WAS THIRD). THIS INCREASED COVERAGE OF WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

MAY BE ATTRIBUTED TO THE GROWTH OF LIVE NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TV COVERAGE DURING

THE PAST DECADE AS WELL AS SOME INCREASE IN LIVE COVERAGE OF WNBA GAMES. YET,

AS WE WILL SEE IN THE FOLLOWING SECTION, WHILE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL COMPRISES THE

MAJORITY OF WOMEN’S SPORTS COVERAGE, WHEN COMPARED TO THE COVERAGE OF MEN’S BASKETBALL,

THE GENDER DISPARITY IN THE QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF COVERAGE OF BASKETBALL IS

EVIDENT.

MARCH MADNESS, STILL MOSTLY FOR MEN

AS IN PAST ITERATIONS OF OUR STUDY, WE FOUND IT USEFUL TO COMPARE NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS

COVERAGE OF THE WOMEN’S AND MEN’S NCAA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT. UNLIKE MANY

SPORTS, WHERE THERE ARE MAJOR STRUCTURAL ASYMMETRIES THAT AT LEAST PARTLY EXPLAIN DIFFERENCES

IN REPORTAGE, FOR EXAMPLE, THE EXISTENCE OF NO WOMEN’S EQUIVALENT TO MEN’S

COLLEGE FOOTBALL, THE NFL, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL (MLB), NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

(NHL), OR THE FACT THAT THE WNBA HAS A FAR SHORTER SEASON THAN THE NBA AND IS

SCHEDULED DURING A DIFFERENT TIME OF THE YEAR (SUMMER), THE WOMEN’S AND MEN’S

NCAA TOURNAMENTS ARE EQUIVALENT EVENTS, PLAYED DURING THE SAME SEVERAL WEEK

SPAN. AS SUCH, THEY PROVIDE A SOURCE RIPE FOR QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE COMPARISON.

AS TABLE 2 SHOWS, THE COVERAGE OF THE WOMEN’S AND MEN’S NCAA TOURNAMENT

DURING OUR MARCH 2014 SAMPLE WAS HIGHLY UNEVEN. NEITHER THE LOCAL NETWORK AFFILIATE

NEWS BROADCASTS NOR SPORTSCENTER DEVOTED MANY STORIES IN THEIR MAIN COVERAGE TO

THE WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT. THERE WERE 9 STORIES OR 3 MIN AND 37-S OF COVERAGE OF THE

WOMEN’S NCAA TOURNAMENT ON THE LOCAL AFFILIATES COMPARED WITH 120 STORIES OR

1 HR, 26 MIN AND 6-S OF COVERAGE OF THE MEN’S. ESPN HAD MORE COVERAGE OF THE

WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT THAN THE LOCAL AFFILIATES, 8 STORIES OR 9 MIN AND 24-S BUT SPENT

2 HR, 21 MIN AND 32-S COVERING 83 STORIES ON THE MEN’S TOURNAMENT. FOR THE MOST PART,

THESE SHOWS RELEGATED COVERAGE OF THE WOMEN TO THE TICKER, THOUGH EVEN THAT COVERAGE

WAS SCANT COMPARED WITH TICKER COVERAGE OF THE MEN’S TOURNAMENT. FOR EXAMPLE,

ESPN HAD JUST OVER 3 HR OF COVERAGE OF THE MEN’S TOURNAMENT ON THEIR TICKER AND ONLY

15 MIN OF THE WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT. THIS GENDER ASYMMETRY ECHOED OUR FINDINGS IN

PREVIOUS STUDIES, BUT WAS A BIT SURPRISING, FOR TWO REASONS. FIRST, AS WE NOTED ABOVE,

IN RECENT YEARS BASKETBALL HAS BECOME BY FAR THE MOST REPORTED-ON WOMEN’S SPORT (IN

THE UNITED STATES). SECOND, GIVEN THAT LIVE COVERAGE OF THE WOMEN’S NCAA BASKETBALL

TOURNAMENT GAMES (AND REGULAR SEASON NCAA BASKETBALL GAMES) HAS BECOME FAR

MORE PREVALENT OVER THE PAST DECADE (ESPN HAS BROADCAST THE TOURNAMENT IN ITS

ENTIRETY BEGINNING IN 2003), AND THE QUALITY OF THE WOMEN’S LIVE BROADCASTS HAS SO

VASTLY IMPROVED, WE EXPECTED TO SEE EVEN MORE COVERAGE OF THE WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT

IN OUR 2014 SAMPLE. NEVERTHELESS, THE COVERAGE OF THE WOMEN’S NCAA TOURNAMENT

REMAINED DISMALLY LOW, AS IT HAD BEEN IN 2004 AND 2009.

OF THE FEW TIMES THEY DID MENTION THE WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT, COMMENTATORS SYMBOLICALLY

YAWNED AT THE PREDICTABLE OUTCOME OF ANOTHER UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT

CHAMPIONSHIP. EVEN THE LOCAL ANGLE FOR THE LOS ANGELES NEWS SHOWS—APPEARANCES

BY USC’S AND CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY NORTHRIDGE’S WOMEN’S TEAM IN THE TOURNAMENT—

BARELY NUDGED THE WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT INTO SOME LOCAL NEWS BROADCASTS. ON

MONDAY MARCH 17, FOR EXAMPLE, THE KNBC 6 P.M. BROADCAST SANDWICHED A STORY

ABOUT USC WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT GAME BETWEEN TWO MEN’S SPORTS STORIES: ON THE

FRONT END, A 28-S SEGMENT ABOUT THE GRANDSON OF ST. JOSEPH’S MEN’S BASKETBALL HEAD

COACH, PHIL MARTELLI. THE STORY INCLUDED FOOTAGE AND COMMENTARY THAT DESCRIBED THE

4-YEAR-OLD ‘‘MINI-MARTELLI’’ AS ‘‘ADORABLE’’ WHILE MIMICKING HIS GRANDPA’S SPORT

COAT, TIE, AND GESTURES DURING THE GAME. THE STORY CONCLUDED WITH THE NEWS THAT

‘‘ST. JOSEPH’S WON THE BALL GAME EARNING A BIRTH IN THE BIG DANCE!’’ IN COMPARISON,

THE 7-S SEGMENT ON THE WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT INCLUDED ONLY THIS VERBAL COMMENTARY,

‘‘STICKING WITH USC, CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WOMEN OF TROY WHO LEARNED TONIGHT

THEY ARE A NINTH SEED IN THE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT. THEY’LL PLAY ST. JOHN’S

IN THE FIRST ROUND.’’ THE BROADCAST THEN TRANSITIONED TO A 78-S SEGMENT ON COLLEGE

FOOTBALL SPRING TRAINING PRACTICE AND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE NEW HEAD COACH

OF THE USC FOOTBALL TEAM, STEVE SARKISIAN AND ONE OF HIS ASSISTANT COACHES.

THIS BROADCAST ILLUSTRATED TWO THEMATIC PATTERNS: FIRST, NEWS SHOWS LAVISHED A SIGNIFICANT

PORTION OF THEIR ‘‘MARCH MADNESS’’ COVERAGE TIME TO A SOFT NEWS STORY ABOUT THE

MEN’S BASKETBALL, SPECIFICALLY ABOUT A COACH OF A TEAM LOCATED IN PHILADELPHIA,

PENNSYLVANIA, THAN TO A LOCAL DIVISION 1 WOMEN’S TEAM THAT HAD MADE THE NCAA

TOURNAMENT. SECOND, EVEN WHEN OUT OF SEASON, USC FOOTBALL RECEIVED MORE COVERAGE

AND HIGHER QUALITY COVERAGE THAN A CURRENTLY SUCCESSFUL IN-SEASON USC WOMEN’S

BASKETBALL TEAM.

MEANWHILE, ON THE MEN’S SIDE, THE LOCAL ANGLE APPARENTLY COULD NOT HAVE BEEN

MORE EXCITING. A MARCH 26 KABC STORY ABOUT THE UCLA’S MEN’S TEAM ILLUSTRATES

HOW NEWS PROGRAMS GENERATE INTEREST FOR MEN’S BASKETBALL. THE 73-S SEGMENT BEGAN

IN THE NEWSROOM, WITH ONE OF THE NEWS ANCHORS INTRODUCING THE SPORTS COMMENTATOR,

SAYING, ‘‘AND TOMORROW, OH BOY, THAT GAME, UCLA, FLORIDA, THAT COULD BE A GOOD

ONE.’’ THE SPORTS COMMENTATOR NODS AND SAYS, ‘‘I THINK IT IS. I THINK IT’S GONNA’ GO

DOWN TO THE WIRE.’’ THE SPORTS ANCHOR THEN PROCEEDS WITH A STORY THAT INCLUDES AN

INTERVIEW WITH UCLA COACH STEVE ALFORD, ON-SCREEN GRAPHICS THAT SHOW THE TEAM’S

RECENT HISTORY IN THE TOURNAMENT AS WELL AS GAME FOOTAGE AND COMMENTARY ABOUT

UCLA’S OPPONENT, THE NUMBER ONE SEED ‘‘SENSATIONAL’’ FLORIDA GATORS. THE COMMENTATOR

THEN GUSHES LONGINGLY ABOUT UCLA’S MAIN HOPE FOR AN UPSET, ‘‘6-FOOT

9 KYLE ANDERSON, A POINT GUARD, IS A GAME-CHANGER.’’

BUILDING EXCITEMENT FOR MEN’S SPORTS

ALTHOUGH NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS ON WOMEN’S SPORTS ARE STILL FEW AND FAR BETWEEN, THE

TECHNICAL PRODUCTION AND FRAMING OF THESE STORIES HAVE IMPROVED OVER TIME. UNLIKE

OUR EARLY STUDIES, WHEN MOST WOMEN’S SPORTS STORIES WERE SHORT VERBAL-ONLY REPORTS,

MANY WOMEN’S SPORTS STORIES IN 2014 SUPPLEMENTED VERBAL COMMENTARY WITH

ON-SCREEN GRAPHICS AND GAME FOOTAGE IN WAYS SIMILAR TO REPORTS ON MEN’S SPORTS.

HOWEVER, WE FOUND THAT MEN’S SPORTS WERE PRESENTED WITH FAR MORE ENTHUSIASM AND

EXCITEMENT, THE COMMENTATORS CONSISTENTLY DEPLOYING VOCAL INFLECTIONS, HIGH-VOLUME

EXCITEMENT, AND EVOCATIVE DESCRIPTORS. LISTENING TO COMMENTATORS DESCRIBE A

WOMEN’S SPORTS EVENT WAS USUALLY LIKE HEARING SOMEONE DELIVER A BORING AFTERTHOUGHT,

WITH AN OBVIOUS LACK OF ENTHUSIASM. WATCHING STORIES OF MEN’S SPORTS WAS

FREQUENTLY AKIN TO WATCHING THAT CLASSIC 1960S ‘‘BATMAN’’ TV SHOW—(BAM! POW!)—

WITH VIEWERS TREATED TO PLENTY OF VISUAL ACTION ACCOMPANIED BY A BARRAGE OF EXCITING

SPOKEN ACTION DESCRIPTORS. WE COLLECTED MANY OF THE COMMON ACTION DESCRIPTORS

DEPLOYED BY NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS COMMENTATORS WHEN PRESENTING MEN’S SPORTS AND

PRESENT IN THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH. THE READER SHOULD IMAGINE MALE SPORTS ANCHORS

DELIVERING THESE DESCRIPTORS IN AN EXCITED, MODULATED, RAPID-CLIPPED, AMPLIFIED

VOICE—OFTEN LITERALLY YELLING: BINGO, A THRILLER, RABID FANS, SMOKED A LASER, A BATTLE, BIG SHOT, HUGE, THREW DOWN THE DUNK, HIT AN ABSOLUTE BOMB, AWESOME, EXCITING, SMOKED ONE TO RIGHT FIELD, RIPPED A DOUBLE, DRILLING A BALL TO CENTER FIELD, UNLOADED A HIT, CLAWED THEIR WAY BACK INTO THE GAME, A COMMANDING LEAD, DRAINING A GREAT SHOT, HE NAILS IT, GOING FULL THROTTLE, DIALED IN AND IN COMPLETE CONTROL, SENDING A ROCKET OVER THE WALL, PUNISHED THE OPPONENT, MOWED DOWN THE BATTER, TOE-TO-TOE BATTLE, FLYING THROUGH THE AIR, A GREAT GRAB, SENSATIONAL, REALLY UNBELIEVABLE, A GREAT ONE, ATTACKING, DRILLED ONE FROM LONG-RANGE, A HEAVY-WEIGHT CLASH, A THUNDEROUS DUNK, AMAZING, SIMPLY MIND-BLOWING, ON FIRE, PICTURE PERFECT, EXPLOSION, REVVED

UP AND READY TO GO, GORGEOUS DUNK—BAM, SPECTACULAR, UNBELIEVABLE, ANOTHER BEAUTY,

ELECTRIC, DOMINANT, BRILLIANT, OUTSTANDING, A MASTER OF THE POSITION, INCREDIBLE, FORCEFUL,

A WEAPON, A ROCK STAR, LIKE A MAN POSSESSED, THAT IS JUST STUPID GOOD, INSTANT AWESOME!

SUCH COLORFUL COMMENTARY, SO COMMON IN NEARLY EVERY STORY ABOUT MEN’S SPORTS,

PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN GENERATING EXCITEMENT AND ONGOING INTEREST IN MEN’S

SPORTS (MESSNER, DUNBAR, & HUNT, 2000). SPORTSCENTER IS PARTICULARLY ADEPT AT MAINTAINING

THIS LEVEL OF ENTHUSIASM FOR MEN’S SPORTS, A TYPICAL EXAMPLE OF WHICH CAME

FROM THEIR JULY 14, 2014, DESCRIPTION OF HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE MLB ALL STAR HOME RUN

DERBY, DURING WHICH ONE OF THE ANCHORS SAYS THAT A PLAYER BROUGHT JOSE´ BAUTISTA

SOME GATORADE, ‘‘JUST TO COOL HIM DOWN A LITTLE BIT BECAUSE HE WAS ON FIRE!’’ LATER

IN THE SAME SEGMENT, THE SPORTS ANCHOR DISCUSSES A GIANCARLO STANTON’S HIT, ‘‘WOW!

TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT THIS ONE. HE JUST ABSOLUTELY DESTROYS THEM! YOU CAN SEE THE

SPEED ON THAT SWING IN REAL TIME. AND YOU JUST STAND AND ADMIRE A SHOT LIKE THAT.’’

ONE OF STANTON’S HOME RUNS IS DESCRIBED AS ‘‘AN ABSOLUTE BOMB.’’ AS VIEWERS ARE

TREATED TO MORE FOOTAGE, YOENIS CE´SPEDES IS DESCRIBED AS HITTING ‘‘BOMB AFTER BOMB

AFTER BOMB,’’ AND A SPORTS ANALYST GUSHES, ‘‘CE´SPEDES KEPT GETTING BETTER AND BETTER,

AND THE HOME RUNS KEPT GETTING LONGER AND LONGER AND THE NUMBERS GOT BIGGER AND

BIGGER.’’

BY CONTRAST, WHEN WOMEN’S SPORTS WERE COVERED AT ALL, THEY WERE TYPICALLY

COUCHED IN WHAT CAN ONLY BE DESCRIBED AS A ‘‘MATTER-OF-FACT’’ STYLE OF COMMENTARY,

AKIN TO THE JULY 26 KABC STORY WE OPENED THIS ARTICLE WITH OF WOMEN’S BEACH VOLLEYBALL,

A SEGMENT THAT WAS PRESENTED AS A BRIEF AND BLAND AFTERTHOUGHT, WITH THE

ACCOMPANYING COMMENTARY, ‘‘ . . . IF YOU HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO. . . . ’’ FREQUENTLY

ABSENT FROM SUCH WOMEN’S SPORTS STORIES WERE THE COMMENTATORS’ VOLUMINOUS VOCAL

INFLECTIONS, EXCLAMATORY DESCRIPTIONS OF ATHLETIC SUCCESSES, AND HEARTFELT LAMENTS OF

FAILURES THAT SATURATE THE COMMENTARY IN MEN’S COVERAGE. THE GENERAL LACK OF AN

EXCITED TONE AND AGENTIC LANGUAGE IN MOST OF THE REPORTING ON WOMEN’S SPORTS HELPS

TO MARK WOMEN’S SPORTS AS LESS INTERESTING AND, IN MANY INSTANCES, EVEN BORING.

IN OUR SAMPLE, THERE WERE A SMALL NUMBER OF EXCEPTIONS THAT SHOWED THAT COMMENTATORS

ARE CAPABLE OF GENERATING SOME ENTHUSIASM FOR WOMEN’S SPORTS STORIES.

FOR INSTANCE ON KABC’S JULY 24, 11 P.M. REPORT OF A WNBA GAME, THE COMMENTATOR

DECLARED, ‘‘THE MERCURY HOTTER THAN THE WEATHER! DIANA TAURSAI SETTING THE PACE WITH

18 POINTS, AND DEWANNA BONNER? WAS BOOMIN’ FROM HERE, THERE, AND EVERYWHERE!’’

AND ON MARCH 25, KNBC DELIVERED A HIGH-QUALITY, LOCAL ANGLE STORY ON THE CAL POLY

POMONA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM’S ASCENT TO THE DIVISION II FINAL FOUR. WITH

ACCOMPANYING ACTION FOOTAGE, THE COMMENTATOR DECLARED, ‘‘JUST GIVE THAT BALL TO

JANET BLACKWELL AND GET OUT OF THE WAY! SHE SCORED A GAME HIGH 35, LIFTING THE

BRONCOS INTO THE DIVISION II FINAL FOUR, WITH AN 81-61 WIN OVER EDINBORO.’’ FOOTAGE

OF THE TEAM CELEBRATING AFTERWARD WAS SHOWN. COMBINING GOOD TECHNICAL PRODUCTION

WITH ENTHUSIASTIC REPORTING, THIS WAS ONE OF HIGHEST QUALITY SEGMENTS ABOUT WOMEN’S

SPORTS IN OUR LOCAL NETWORK AFFILIATE NEWS SAMPLE.

AMBIVALENT DELIVERY

ON SEVERAL OF THE RARE OCCASIONS WHEN COMMENTATORS MUSTERED HIGH TECHNICAL PRODUCTION

ALONG WITH ENTHUSIASTIC DELIVERY FOR A WOMEN’S SPORTS STORY, THEY ALSO

INFUSED A LEVEL OF AMBIVALENCE INTO THE STORY’S FRAME. ONE OF THE LONGEST (2:37) AND

HIGH-QUALITY SEGMENTS ON WOMEN’S SPORTS IN OUR SAMPLE WAS A JULY 22, KNBC STORY

COVERING FORMER USC (COLLEGE) AND LA SPARKS (PROFESSIONAL) BASKETBALL STAR LISA

LESLIE’S INDUCTION INTO THE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME. THE STORY FEATURED

SOME VISUAL PLAYER FOOTAGE AND INCLUDED RESPECTFUL COMMENTARY THAT NOTED LESLIE’S

MANY CHAMPIONSHIPS AND AWARDS. AT THE END OF THE SEGMENT, HOWEVER, LESLIE IS

SHOWN HOLDING HER BABY, AS THE COMMENTATOR REPORTS THAT LESLIE ‘‘ . . . RETIRED FROM

THE LEAGUE IN 2009, AND NOW SHE ENTERS THE HALL OF FAME!’’ FOOTAGE OF HER DANCING

ON THE COURT WITH HER CHILD IS SHOWN AS SHE SAYS, ‘‘BEING A WIFE AND A MOM IS JUST MY

FAVORITE TITLE. PEOPLE ALWAYS ASK ME IF I MISS PLAYING BASKETBALL AND I’M LIKE, ABSOLUTELY

NOT, BECAUSE I LOVE BEING A WIFE, COOKING AND BEING HOME. I’M KIND OF A STAY AT

HOME MOM EVEN THOUGH I HAVE ABOUT TEN JOBS.’’ SHE LAUGHS AS THE SEGMENT ENDS.

SIMILAR VERSIONS OF THIS STORY RAN ON THE JULY 19, 11 P.M. BROADCAST (37-S) AND AGAIN

ON THE JULY 22, 11 P.M. BROADCAST (63-S), WHICH REPRESENTED NEARLY HALF (4:17 OF

10:30 MIN) OF THE TOTAL MAIN COVERAGE OF WOMEN’S SPORTS ON KNBC IN OUR STUDY.

THUS, AN AMBIVALENT STORY ABOUT A PROMINENT, SUCCESSFUL FEMALE ATHLETE THAT FRAMED

HER ACCOMPLISHMENTS ALONGSIDE MOTHERHOOD WAS THE DOMINANT REPRESENTATION OF

WOMEN’S SPORTS, BOTH QUALITATIVELY AND QUANTITATIVELY, ON KNBC.

SPORTSCENTER’S JULY 18TH BROADCAST RAN AN IN-STUDIO INTERVIEW WITH WNBA STAR

CANDACE PARKER, SIMILAR TO THE LISA LESLIE STORY IN ITS LENGTH (1:38), ITS HIGH QUALITY,

AND ALSO IN ITS GENDER AMBIVALENCE. THE SEGMENT OPENS WITH GAME FOOTAGE CLIPS OF PARKER

SCORING A BASKET, ALONG WITH COMMENTARY FROM THE GAME, ‘‘WOW! CANDACE PARKER!

WHAT A MOVE!’’ ANOTHER CLIP OF PARKER HOLDING A TROPHY ABOVE HER HEAD IS SHOWN. A

GRAPHIC WITH HER PICTURE AND ‘‘CANDACE PARKER’’ IN TEXT ALONG WITH THE SPARKS LOGO

APPEARS ACROSS THE SCREEN. THE CAMERA THEN TRANSITIONS TO INTERVIEWER STAN VERRETT WITH

PARKER (IN A DRESS AND FULL MAKEUP) IN STUDIO SITTING IN TWO CHAIRS. AS SHE IS INTERVIEWED

ABOUT THE RECENT SEASON AND ABOUT HER WNBA TEAM’S FINANCIAL VULNERABILITIES, AN ONSCREEN

GRAPHIC APPEARS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SCREEN SHOWING PARKER’S STATISTICS, INCLUDING

2-TIME WNBA MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AND 3-TIME ALL STAR. THE INTERVIEWER THEN

ASKED, ‘‘WE ALWAYS SEE YOU WITH YOUR DAUGHTER, LAILAA [PARKER, OFF CAMERA, REPLIES,

‘‘YEAH’’], HOW DO YOU BALANCE BEING THE CENTERPIECE OF A FRANCHISE WITH BEING A CENTERPIECE

OF A LITTLE GIRL’S LIFE AS WELL?’’ PARKER REPLIES, ‘‘IT’S A LOT OF WORK. IT’S THE HARDEST

JOB I’VE HAD TO DO, BUT YOU KNOW, SEEING HER SMILE AND REALIZING, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU

WALK THROUGH THE DOOR, BASKETBALL DOESN’T MATTER. SHE JUST WANTS ME TO BE MOM.’’

THESE TWO STORIES ON LISA LESLIE ON KNBC AND ON CANDACE PARKER ON ESPN WERE

LONG SEGMENTS WITH VERY HIGH PRODUCTION VALUES AND RESPECTFUL COMMENTARY. BOTH

LESLIE AND PARKER WERE FEATURED BECAUSE OF THEIR DOMINANCE AND STATURE IN THE SPORT

OF WOMEN’S BASKETBALL. BUT WE FOUND IT NOTABLE THAT EACH PIECE EVENTUALLY MEANDERS

TO THE THEME OF MOTHERHOOD. SCHOLARS HAVE NOTED HOW PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S SPORTS

ARE FREQUENTLY FRAMED BY COMMERCIAL INTERESTS AND MEDIA IN WAYS THAT HIGHLIGHT

WOMEN ATHLETES’ HETEROSEXUAL ATTRACTIVENESS AND/OR ROLES AS MOTHERS (KANE ET AL.,

2013). ‘‘OTHER’’ WOMEN—THOSE WHO ARE SINGLE, OR WHO ARE LESBIANS, OR WHO MIGHT

NOT BE VIEWED AS CONVENTIONALLY ATTRACTIVE—ARE RARELY GIVEN THE SAME ATTENTION BY

MEDIA, SPORTS PROMOTERS, OR ADVERTISERS (COOKY ET AL., 2010). IT IS DIFFICULT TO IMAGINE

A SPORTS ANCHOR OR JOURNALIST QUESTIONING A PROMINENT MALE ATHLETE—SAY, A LEBRON

JAMES OR DEREK JETER—‘‘HOW DO YOU BALANCE BEING THE CENTERPIECE OF A FRANCHISE

WITH BEING A CENTERPIECE OF A LITTLE GIRL’S [OR BOY’S] LIFE AS WELL?’’ YET, AS WITH PREVIOUS

ITERATIONS OF THE REPORT, THE FRAMING OF WOMEN AS MOTHERS IS QUITE FREQUENT, AND

YET IT IS A FAR CRY FROM THE OVERTLY SEXIST AND INSULTING STORIES THAT WERE FOUND IN OUR

STUDIES OF 15 AND 25 YEARS AGO.

HOWEVER, SUCH FRAMINGS OF HIGH-PROFILE, SUCCESSFUL

WOMEN ATHLETES, WHEN JUXTAPOSED WITH THE FACT THAT SUCH ISSUES ARE RARELY, IF EVER,

BROUGHT INTO STORIES ABOUT MEN ATHLETES, REVEAL A GENDER ASYMMETRY THAT SUBTLY COMMUNICATES

AMBIVALENCE ABOUT WOMEN ATHLETES (DUNCAN & HASBROOK, 1988). INDEED,

WE BEGAN TO SEE THIS SHIFT FROM OVERT SEXISM TO AMBIVALENCE IN OUR 2009 STUDY, WHERE

WE OBSERVED WOMEN ATHLETES INCREASINGLY DEPICTED NOT AS SEX OBJECTS OR AS JOKES BUT

AS MOTHERS, GIRLFRIENDS, OR GIRLS NEXT DOOR (COOKY ET AL, 2013). WHEN CONTRASTED WITH

THE EXCITED COMMENTARY AND AGENTIC TONE UTILIZED IN THE COVERAGE OF MEN’S SPORTS,

THIS AMBIVALENT DELIVERY FURTHER MARGINALIZES WHAT LITTLE COVERAGE OF WOMEN’S SPORTS

EXISTS WITHIN THE BROADCASTS, AND AS WE NOTED IN OUR 2009 STUDY, DOES LITTLE TO BUILD

AUDIENCES FOR WOMEN’S SPORTS AND REAFFIRMS MEN’S SPORTS AS THE INSTITUTIONAL CENTER

OF SPORTS (MESSNER, 2002).

‘‘IT’S DUDE TIME’’

DURING A NOVEMBER 14, 2014, BROADCAST OF SPORTSCENTER, THE SPORTS ANCHOR INTRODUCED

THE SHOW’S NHL ANALYST, EXCLAIMING, ‘‘IT’S DUDE TIME!’’ WHILE IT IS COMMON

FOR SPORTS ANCHORS TO PRESENT ICE HOCKEY AS ONE OF THE MORE EXTREMELY AGGRESSIVE

MASCULINE SPORTS, THE SPORTS ANCHOR’S COMMENT MADE US WONDER, WHEN ARE THESE

SHOWS NOT ‘‘DUDE TIME?’’ AFTER ALL, NEARLY ALL OF THE SEGMENTS WE ANALYZED ON SPORTS-

CENTER AND ON THE LOCAL NETWORK AFFILIATE NEWSCASTS COVERED THE MAJOR MEN’S SPORTS.

MOREOVER, SPORTS NEWS AND HIGHLIGHT ANCHORS REMAIN, AS IN THE PAST, RACIALLY DIVERSE

BUT MOSTLY MALE. TABLE 3 INDICATES THAT OF ALL THE NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS SHOWS WE ANALYZED,

OVER 95% HAD MALE ANCHORS AND COANCHORS AT THE HELM (ALL OF THE WOMEN

ANCHORS IN OUR SAMPLE APPEARED ON KCBS, WHICH INCLUDED 11 OF ITS 74 SPORTS BROADCASTS

ANCHORED BY A WHITE WOMAN AND 2 BY A LATINA WOMAN).

AS TABLE 4 SHOWS, AT 14.4%, WOMEN ARE ONLY SLIGHTLY BETTER REPRESENTED AS ANCILLARY

REPORTERS ON SPORTS SHOWS. DURING OUR SAMPLE PERIOD, SPORTS SHOWS (MOST OFTEN SPORTS-

CENTER) ALSO INCLUDED ‘‘SPORTS ANALYSTS’’ IN THE BROADCASTS, 96% OF WHO WERE MEN.

‘‘DUDE TIME,’’ THEREFORE, IS CREATED IN NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS SHOWS BY A NEARLY CONSTANT

CONFIGURATION OF THREE INTERTWINED PATTERNS: (1) ALMOST ENTIRELY MEN’S SPORTS

CONTENT, (2) DELIVERED ALMOST ENTIRELY BY MEN COMMENTATORS, AND (3) DEPLOYING AN

AMPLIFIED, EXCITED STYLE OF DELIVERY. TOGETHER, THESE PATTERNS GIVE SPORTSCENTER AND

THE LOCAL NETWORK AFFILIATES’ SPORTS NEWS SHOWS THE CONSISTENT FEEL OF WHAT WE REFER TO

AS A ‘‘MEDIATED MAN CAVE’’—A PLACE SET UP BY MEN FOR MEN TO CELEBRATE MEN’S

SENSATIONAL ATHLETIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS. BASED ON THE DEARTH OF COVERAGE OF WOMEN’S

SPORTS ACROSS A QUARTER CENTURY OF ANALYSIS, IT SEEMS APPARENT THAT, SIMILAR TO THE

SPORTS TALK RADIO STUDIED BY NYLUND (2004), WOMEN ARE NOT WELCOME IN THE MEDIATED

MAN CAVE OF TELEVISED SPORTS COVERAGE. INDEED, KNBC’S MARCH 22, BROADCAST

INCLUDED ZERO COVERAGE OF WOMEN’S SPORTS BUT DID INCLUDE A MESSAGE TO WOMEN FANS:

DON’T GET TOO CLOSE TO THE ACTION. IN A SEGMENT ABOUT THE MEN’S HOCKEY MATCH,

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS VERSUS MONTREAL CANADIENS, VIEWERS SEE A WOMAN FAN BANGING

ON THE GLASS AND CHEERING. SHE SUDDENLY GETS SENT FLYING BACK INTO HER SEAT FROM

THE FORCE OF TWO HOCKEY PLAYERS COLLIDING INTO THE GLASS. THE SHOT IS REPLAYED SEVERAL

TIMES, IN SLOW MOTION AND FROM MULTIPLE ANGLES, AS THE COMMENTATOR SAYS, ‘‘THE FORCE

OF THAT SENDS THE FAN FLYING BACK INTO HER SEAT. HOCKEY IS A TOUGH SPORT FOR PLAYERS AND

FANS, AND YOU GOTTA’ BET SHE’LL THINK TWICE ABOUT GETTING THAT CLOSE AGAIN!’’

THE UNEVENNESS OF SOCIAL CHANGE

MORE THAN FOUR DECADES AFTER THE PASSAGE OF TITLE IX, GIRLS HAVE DRAMATICALLY

INCREASED THEIR PARTICIPATION IN YOUTH AND HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS (MILLER, MELNICK,

BARNES, FARRELL, & SABO, 2005; SABO & VELIZ, 2008). YET STUBBORNLY PERSISTENT CONSERVATIVE

GENDER IDEOLOGIES, STRUCTURED INEQUITIES, AND SEX SEGREGATION CONTINUE TO

LIMIT GIRLS’ CHALLENGE TO BOYS’ HEGEMONY IN SPORTS (COOKY, 2009; MESSNER, 2011;

MUSTO, 2014). AS A TIDAL WAVE OF GIRLS’ AND WOMEN’S PARTICIPATION FROM YOUTH SPORTS

TO COLLEGE SPORTS CONTINUES TO SWELL, THE WATERS OF WOMEN’S SPORT LEADERSHIP AS COACHES

AND ATHLETICS DIRECTORS HAVE RECEDED (ACOSTA & CARPENTER, 2015; MESSNER,

2009). THE LARGER PICTURE OF GIRLS’ AND WOMEN’S PROGRESS IN SPORT, IN SHORT, LOOKS LESS

LIKE A STALLED REVOLUTION THAN A PICTURE OF THE UNEVENNESS OF SOCIAL CHANGE, WITH TRULY

DRAMATIC, PERHAPS EVEN REVOLUTIONARY CHANGES CONTINUING IN SOME SECTORS, WHILE LITTLE

OR NO CHANGE HAPPENS IN OTHERS.

THE MASS SPORTS MEDIA IS CERTAINLY A SITE OF SUCH UNEVEN SOCIAL CHANGE IN GENDER

RELATIONS. OVER THE PAST 25 YEARS, WE HAVE WITNESSED IMPRESSIVE GROWTH IN THE QUANTITY

AND QUALITY OF LIVE TELEVISED COVERAGE OF SOME WOMEN’S SPORTS. NOTABLY, WHEN

WE BEGAN THE GENDER IN SPORTS MEDIA STUDY IN 1989, THERE WAS ALMOST NO LIVE COVERAGE

OF WOMEN’S NCAA BASKETBALL—EVEN THE NCAA FINAL FOUR GAMES WERE, AT BEST,

TELEVISED ON LATE-NIGHT TAPE-DELAY SHOT, WITH EXTREMELY LOW PRODUCTION VALUES.

TODAY, ESPN, SEVERAL NATIONAL NETWORKS, AND REGIONAL CABLE CHANNELS (LIKE THE BIG

TEN NETWORK) BROADCAST MANY REGULAR-SEASON WOMEN’S NCAA GAMES, AND A LARGE

NUMBER OF THE WOMEN’S NCAA TOURNAMENTS. WHAT’S MORE, THE PRODUCTION VALUES

OF THESE BROADCASTS ARE IMPROVING DRAMATICALLY, THOUGH STILL FALLING SHORT IN QUALITY

WHEN COMPARED WITH THE BROADCASTS OF THE MEN’S GAMES. VIEWERS CAN ALSO REGULARLY

WATCH LIVE TELEVISED WOMEN’S COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL, SOFTBALL, AND GYMNASTICS, WOMEN’S

PROFESSIONAL TENNIS, WNBA GAMES, AND OTHER SPORTS.

HOWEVER, SUCH GROWING MEDIA ATTENTION TO WOMEN’S SPORTS, OUR STUDY HAS SHOWN,

HAS NOT MIGRATED TO THE NIGHTLY TV NEWS OR TO HIGHLIGHTS SHOWS LIKE ESPN’S SPORTS-

CENTER. THIS HAS TWO BROAD IMPLICATIONS. FIRST, SPORTS NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS SHOWS ARE

PART OF A LARGER MEDIA APPARATUS THAT ACTIVELY BUILDS AUDIENCES FOR MEN’S SPORTS

(COOKY ET AL., 2013). AS LONG AS THESE DAILY SHOWS REMAIN MOSTLY SILENT ABOUT

WOMEN’S SPORTS, THE BUILDING OF ENTHUSIASTIC AND KNOWLEDGEABLE FAN BASES FOR

WOMEN’S SPORTS WILL REMAIN STUNTED. SECOND, NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS SHOWS’ CONTINUED

SILENCE ABOUT WOMEN’S SPORTS HAS IMPLICATIONS FOR BROADER GENDER RELATIONS (DANIELS,

2009; MESSNER, 2002). MODERN MEN’S SPORT HAS PLAYED A KEY HISTORICAL ROLE IN BOLSTERING

IDEOLOGIES OF ‘‘NATURAL’’ MALE SUPERIORITY DURING A HISTORICAL MOMENT WHEN

GIRLS AND WOMEN HAVE BEEN MOVING AFFIRMATIVELY TOWARD EQUALITY IN MANY SOCIAL

INSTITUTIONS (BURSTYN, 1999). THE DAILY NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS SHOWS’ FAILURE TO EQUITABLY

COVER WOMEN’S SPORTS SHROUDS IN SILENCE WOMEN’S HISTORIC MOVEMENT INTO SPORT

AND THE IMPRESSIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF WOMEN ATHLETES, THUS RETAINING SPORT AS A

POTENT SITE FOR THE REPRODUCTION OF IDEOLOGIES OF MALE SUPERIORITY.

IN ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF UNEVEN CHANGE, DESPITE THE DEEPENING DEARTH OF COVERAGE

OF WOMEN’S SPORTS IN OUR STUDY, WE HAVE FOUND SOME NOTABLE CHANGES IN THE QUALITY

OF TV NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS COVERAGE OVER THE PAST QUARTER CENTURY. IN 1989, TV NEWS

SHOWS DEVOTED ONLY 5% OF THEIR TIME TO WOMEN ATHLETES. AND WHEN THEY DID COVER

WOMEN, IT OFTEN WAS COMMONLY EITHER IN THE ROLE OF COMICAL OBJECT OF THE SPORTS

ANCHOR’S JOKE OR AS A SEXUAL OBJECT. IN FACT, THESE TWO ROLES WERE OFTEN OVERLAPPING

AND WERE GIVEN SIGNIFICANTLY MORE AIRTIME THAN WERE SERIOUS AND RESPECTFUL STORIES

ABOUT FEMALE ATHLETES. FOR INSTANCE, IN 1989 BY FAR THE LONGEST SINGLE STORY (3 MIN,

50 S) ON A WOMAN IN THE 6-WEEK PERIOD FOCUSED NOT ON A FEMALE ATHLETE BUT RATHER

ON ‘‘MORGANA, THE KISSING BANDIT,’’ A WOMAN WITH ENORMOUS BREASTS WHO HAD MADE

A NAME FOR HERSELF BY RUNNING OUT ONTO BASEBALL FIELDS AND KISSING PLAYERS. WHAT WAS

MOST STRIKING ABOUT THESE LOCAL NETWORK AFFILIATE NEWS BROADCASTS WAS THE CONFLUENCE

OF, ON THE ONE HAND, THE CONSPICUOUS ABSENCE OF COVERAGE OF WOMEN ATHLETES WITH, ON

THE OTHER HAND, THE WAYS THAT WOMEN WERE CONSISTENTLY PLACED IN THE ROLE OF SEXUALIZED

COMIC RELIEF.

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS LATER, SOME THINGS HAVE CHANGED, WHILE OTHERS HAVE NOT. SIMILAR

TO OUR OBSERVATIONS IN 2009, WE SAW LITTLE IF ANY INSULTING AND HUMOROUSLY SEXUALIZED

STORIES ABOUT WOMEN ATHLETES IN 2014. YET WE FOUND THIS ‘‘IMPROVEMENT’’

COMES AT A COST: THE DECLINE IN THE OVERALL AMOUNT OF COVERAGE OF WOMEN’S SPORTS OVER

THE PAST 25 YEARS. IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE SPORTS MEDIA COVERS WOMEN’S SPORTS WHEN IT

CAN DO SO IN WAYS THAT CONFORM TO CONVENTIONAL GENDER NORMS THAT POSITION WOMEN AS

EITHER OBJECTS OF MEN’S (HETERO)SEXUAL DESIRE OR MOTHERS, WIVES, OR GIRLFRIENDS. WE SUSPECT

THAT THE TONING DOWN OF OVERTLY SEXIST TREATMENT OF WOMEN ON SPORTS NEWS AND

HIGHLIGHT SHOWS IS A RESULT OF PUBLIC CALLS (INCLUDING, WE HOPE, OUR PAST RESEARCH

REPORTS) FOR RESPECTFUL COVERAGE OF WOMEN’S SPORTS. BUT A DECLINE IN OVERT SEXISM,

WHILE CERTAINLY WELCOMED BY MANY, IS NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH RESPECTFUL COVERAGE.

WHAT WOULD RESPECTFUL COVERAGE OF WOMEN’S SPORTS ON NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS SHOWS

ACTUALLY LOOK LIKE? NOT SIMPLY, WE EMPHASIZE, A LACK OF SEXIST VERBAL ABUSE DIRECTED

AT WOMEN, BUT INSTEAD AN ACTIVE AGENDA OF POSITIVE CHANGE THAT INCLUDES THREE POLICY

BENCHMARKS THAT PRODUCERS, COMMENTATORS, AND SPORTS ANCHORS COULD ACHIEVE OVER

THE NEXT 5 YEARS:

1. PRESENT A ROUGHLY EQUITABLE QUANTITY OF COVERAGE OF WOMEN’S SPORTS. DEFINING

‘‘EQUITY’’ IN THIS CONTEXT WOULD ACCOUNT FOR THE FACT THAT THERE ARE STILL

MORE MEN’S SPORTS—ESPECIALLY BIG-TIME COLLEGE AND PROFESSIONAL SPECTATOR

SPORTS—THAN EQUIVALENT WOMEN’S SPORTS. WE SUGGEST THAT A REASONABLE

BENCHMARK FOR EQUITY WOULD BE TO HAVE PROPORTIONAL NEWS BROADCAST COVERAGE

TO THE LIVE BROADCAST COVERAGE OF WOMEN’S SPORTS. ONE REVIEWER

SUGGESTED THAT APPROXIMATELY 6–9% OF LIVE BROADCAST COVERAGE OF SPORTS

EVENTS FEATURES WOMEN’S SPORTS. UNDER THIS RUBRIC, THE RECOMMENDATION

WOULD BE FOR THE SPORTS NEWS MEDIA TO TRIPLE THEIR CURRENT COVERAGE OF

WOMEN’S SPORTS FROM 2% TO 6% ON ESPN SPORTSCENTER AND FROM 3.2% TO

9% FOR THE LOCAL NEWS. HOWEVER, CONSIDERING OUR LONGITUDINAL ANALYSIS, COVERAGE

OF WOMEN’S SPORTS HAS BEEN AT 6–9% IN 2004 AND IN 1999 AND YET HAS

DECLINED IN 2009 AND 2014. ARGUING TO GO BACK TO WHAT WE ARGUED IN PREVIOUS

REPORTS WAS DISMAL COVERAGE SEEMS UNSATISFACTORY. AS SUCH, WE RECOMMEND

DOUBLING THE PEAK NUMBERS AND RECOMMEND WOMEN’S SPORTS COVERAGE

ENCOMPASS 12–18% OF BROADCAST COVERAGE. A BROADENING CONCEPTION OF EQUITABLE

COVERAGE COULD ALSO NUDGE PRODUCERS OF THESE SHOWS AWAY FROM THEIR

TIMID DRIFT TOWARD EVER-INCREASING COVERAGE OF MEN’S BIG THREE SPORTS, INSTEAD

INCLUDING NOT ONLY MORE WOMEN’S SPORTS BUT ALSO A WIDER RANGE OF MEN’S

SPORTS.

2. PRESENT WOMEN’S SPORTS STORIES IN WAYS ROUGHLY EQUIVALENT IN QUALITY WITH

THE TYPICAL PRESENTATION OF MEN’S SPORTS. THIS REFERS, OF COURSE, BOTH TO THE

TECHNICAL QUALITY—DEPLOYING AMPLE GAME FOOTAGE, GRAPHICS, MUSIC, AND

INTERVIEWS TO ACCOMPANY A STORY—AND TO THE QUALITY OF THE SPORTS ANCHOR’S

VERBAL PRESENTATION, INCLUDING AMPLIFYING THE ENTHUSIASM IN REPORTING

WOMEN’S SPORTS TO A LEVEL ON THE EXCITEMENT METER THAT IS EQUIVALENT WITH THE

USUAL PRESENTATION OF MEN’S SPORTS.

3. HIRE AND RETAIN ON-CAMERA SPORTS ANCHORS THAT ARE CAPABLE AND WILLING TO DO

#1 AND #2. WE FIND IT NOTABLE THAT TWO OF THE THREE OF THE SPORTS ANCHORS ON THE

NETWORK AFFILIATES WE STUDIED ARE THE SAME MEN WHO ANCHORED THE SPORTS

SHOWS IN 1989. WHILE CAREER LONGEVITY IS NOT IN AND OF ITSELF A BAD THING (FULL

DISCLOSURE: THE SECOND AUTHOR OF THIS STUDY HAS HELD HIS SAME UNIVERSITY POSITION

FOR NEARLY THREE DECADES, MORE THAN SPANNING THE LIFE OF THIS TELEVISED

SPORTS STUDY.), THESE MEN HAVE SHOWN LITTLE CHANGE OVER THE YEARS, BESIDES

BECOMING LESS OVERTLY INSULTING TO WOMEN, AND DEVOTING EVER-LARGER PROPORTIONS

OF THEIR BROADCAST TIME TO COVERING MEN’S BIG THREE SPORTS. SPORTS NEWS

AND HIGHLIGHTS SHOWS NEED TO OPEN THE OCCUPATION TO MORE WOMEN (TUGGLE,

1997; SHEFFER & SCHULTZ, 2007; WHITESIDE & HARDIN, 2012). PERHAPS JUST AS

IMPORTANT, HIRING AND RETENTION DECISIONS SHOULD PRIORITIZE ANCHORS AND ANALYSTS—

WOMEN AND MEN—WHO ARE KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT AND LOVE WOMEN’S

SPORTS. IT IS UNLIKELY THAT ONE CAN EASILY OR EFFECTIVELY FAKE THE SORT OF ENTHUSIASM

TODAY’S MALE COMMENTATORS ROUTINELY SHOW FOR MEN’S SPORTS AND MEN

ATHLETES’ ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS IS A LONG TIME FOR SO LITTLE CHANGE TO HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN SPORTS

NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS SHOWS, ESPECIALLY AGAINST THE BACKDROP OF MASSIVE GENDER TRANSFORMATIONS AND REFORMS IN OTHER AREAS OF SPORT AND SOCIETY. TO BEGIN FINALLY TO MOVE

THEMSELVES INTO THE 21ST CENTURY, ESPN’S SPORTSCENTER AND TV SPORTS NEWS SHOWS

SHOULD TAKE THE THREE ABOVE BENCHMARKS INTO ACCOUNT IN THEIR FUTURE DECISIONS ABOUT

HIRING, RETENTION, AND PROGRAMMING.

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