The world of sports is not immune to gender bias, as evidenced by the notably lopsided coverage of women’s sports by the media and the disproportionate level of brand sponsorship spend allocated to men’s sports. This situation changes, however, during a two-week period every two years when the eyes of the world focus on the Olympics, the only global sporting event characterized by true gender parity.
Unlike other events, the Olympics features men and women competing in the same events in the same stadiums for gold, silver and bronze medals of equal importance. Perhaps more importantly, broadcasters and sponsors don’t differentiate between genders at the games. As the biggest sporting event on the planet, the Olympics elevate the premise of gender equality even higher.
The elevation is important, as media coverage for regular league events heavily favors men’s sports. For example, a 2018 Nielsen Sports study found that the volume of media coverage of women’s sports across Europe ranged from as low as 2% to just 12% at peak times. The balanced coverage during the Olympics is especially warranted when we look at interest levels in the Olympics. In fact, interest among females in the Winter Olympics is higher than overall interest in the games.
The balanced nature of the Olympic audience hasn’t gone unnoticed among brands, as many have tailored their campaigns to be inclusive and meaningful for a broader base of viewers. Procter & Gamble’s “Thank You Mom” and “Lead with Love” campaigns, for example, tap into the emotion of the