Diversity in Sports Broadcasting

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Sport broadcasts cover sporting activities as they take place by channels such as television or radio or some other medium (Schultz, Brad & Wei 4). Among the most popular sporting broadcasts are football, cricket, basketball, and boxing. It usually includes pundits who characterize live events as they transpire.
Various stations have increased their staff composition in order to retain audiences and get ahead of time (Schultz, Brad & Wei 6). The paper examines the details of these differences in broadcasting sports. According to the Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports reports released between 2006 and 2012, women and minorities study in sports coverage are worrying (Koinula 591). Their studies reveal that 90 percent of the editors in sports are white people and also similar percentages are men. In general, 86 percent of the crew in broadcast: columnists, assistant editors, copy editors and reporters, are whites (Farrington & Daniel Para. 6). Also, 80 percent of all crew members are men.

It is believed that the numbers would have been far worse were it not for sports outlets like ESPN. In a report card published by ESPN, they have outlined the impact of ESPN in hiring diverse people in their outlets. Without the effect of ESPN, the journalists of color in these major outlets would drop to 7 percent from 20 percent. Female journalists would drop to 5 percent from an existing low percentage of 13 (Koinula 592). Indeed, this sport channel is has a strong policy of hiring diverse workers. This has earned them numerous awards.

If ESPN is a media outlet to go by, then there are many qualified female and minority sports journalists out there. This is enough proof that other sports houses need to locate them and hire them into their companies.

Women versus Men in Broadcasting

According to Women’s Media Center’s report about the status of women in United States media, gender imbalance is still a big problem in broadcast, print and other online platforms (Koinula 589). The number of men, more so white men, varies greatly with that of women. The president of the WMC, Julie Burton called for change across all media outlets.

The report compiled other several sources like the American society of new editor, media matter and Gawker. All of them reached to an understanding that achieving media parity remains a farfetched phenomenon. According to census done by ASNE, the percentages of males and males in 1999 were 63.1 and 36.9 percent respectively. As at 2012, the percentages had remained unchanged (Koinula 593). In 2013, the percentages worsened, men were 63.7 percent and females made 36.3 percent.

A report by Associated Press Sport Editors which was commissioned by Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports established that women journalists’ representation by color had increased. This however did not indicate the fact that representation by gender remained very low. Majority of the women journalists worked for ESPN according to the reports (Koinula 594. This meant the figures would have worsened if ESPN did not contribute to diversification. This made them to be singled out as the leading broadcaster with diversification efforts.

Media coverage for women sports

A major issue is bias when it comes to airing women sports. There can never be equal attention with that of men sports especially sports from low ethnic minority groups (Milner & Jomils 7). According to international press survey conducted in 2005, women were only allocated 5 percent of sports coverage. This is a major reason women do not feature in sports broadcasting as there are few areas of representation. However, today women continue to get more involved, and are enthusiastic about sports, a sign that in future, parity will achieved in sports journalism and in women sports.

Some of the reasons that make it hard for media houses to broadcast women sports are; tight budgets at their disposal and narrow focus on their sports (Milner & Jomils 6). There is an instance when Los Angeles Times sports had to cut down its staff to save on costs and focus more on sports with wider coverage. This meant women shows stood no chance after the policy.

Also, when it comes to coverage, men’s sports take lead. This justifies the need to have their sports featured more than women’s sports. For instance, when NBA (men’s national basketball association) and WNBA (women basketball association) were compared for in-season and out-season coverage, the men featured more (Koinula 590). The table below summarizes the findings.

A great contributor to the bias can also be attributed to time of coverage of an event. Women sports featuring in a time like March when college basketball is being played may be futile in terms of viewership and broadcasting. It is believed March sports show sports channels about men sports and ignore women who also have college basketball going on at those times (Koinula 590). The superiority of men’s sports cannot be ignored due to the vast followers out there. However there is need to shed a spotlight on women sports in order to develop them.

White men and black men in broadcasting

Statistics still shows that white men continue to dominate most TV sports shows. As earlier noted, 90 percent of men broadcasting sports are white men. There are reasons as to why these trends may not end soon despite calls to establish equality. A major reason is the fact that most sources of information come from whites (Farrington & Daniel Para. 4). Another reason is that most stations are owned by whites. It is estimated that African-Americans own like six stations. This is less than 1 percent of the stations total. Latin Americans own only 1.1 percent. It is also believed that there are very few blacks with the skills to join the broadcasting teams hence the little numbers in this industry.

Other groups

Age of the broadcasters is an element considered in sports broadcasting (Schultz, Brad & Wei 14). Majority of the sports broadcasters are elderly men who are either retirees of the sports they broadcast or are professionals trained in the job. It is believed people from this age group can draw careful analysis of sports events through their collected vast experience. They are believed to possess enormous information backgrounds regarding sports than anyone else (Koinula 590). TV stations in UK like BT sports and SKY sports hire retired football players to do their weekend sports broadcasts. They are paid huge amounts of salaries for their insight into football matters. The commentators too are elderly. It was until 2013 that BT sports brought in ex-coach of a football club to join in their panel of analysts.

Disabled persons sport has also received much recognition from sport stations in the recent years. This was noted in 2016 when the Olympics committee came up with the idea of hosting disabled persons sports at a set period of time (Koinula 592). This attracted many broadcasters in the world to capture the events as they unfolded. It was a milestone for the disabled persons. Previously, this was not the case. There were instances where disabled athletes would compete with the abled persons.

There are many language speaking groups in the United States. This is as a result of the various origins. This has made many stations of sports to come up with stations that offer commentary in these minority groups. For instance there is ESPN station in Hispanics. The sports stations have also assembled a team of broadcasters who speak in these languages. It is quite clear that media houses are accommodating other cultures (Schultz, Brad & Wei 4). Also, a majority of sports stations in Europe air sports from other countries and offer commentary. In the previous years, sport stations majorly focused on local sport. This spells advancement in the world of sports broadcasting.


Sports’ broadcasting has been met by obstacles and successes as has been discussed in the paper. Towards women representation, the outlet has failed terribly. The future trend is believed will change as many women are growing into sports.

Other diverse groups in media are men. The white men have taken over the industry. Black men and Latinos represent a very small percentage compared to the whites. With white men owning the largest number of stations, this suggests the high numbers in representation. This is deemed to change in future as equality plans are underway. .

Other groups impacted by sports broadcasts elderly age group, disabled persons, and people from minority languages. Most of the factors discussed have had positive impacts however diverse groups like that of women need a lot of attention.

Work Cited

Farrington, Neil, and Daniel Kilvington. Race, Racism and Sports Journalism. Routledge, 2012.

Koinula, Nathalie. “Gender Stereotyping In Televised Media Sport Coverage.” Sex roles 41. 7 (199): 589-604

Milner, Adrienne N., and Jomils Henry Braddock. Sex segregation in sports: why separate is not equal. ABC-CLIO, 2016

Schultz, Brad, and Wei Wei. “Sports Broadcasting: History, Technology and Implications.” The Routledge Handbook of Sports Communication. London. Routledge (2013): 137-145.

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