Exploring Narratives of Scarcity, Uncertainty, and Opportunity in Women’s Sports Coverage During the COVID-19 Pandemic

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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  • 1 Drexel University
  • 2 Ithaca College
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In this essay, the authors explored Pinsker’s conception of two pandemics, as reflected in the concerns expressed about the future of women’s sport, prospects for female athletes, and the security of women leaders in sport as they emerged in articles published in national news sources. The purpose of this essay was to capture, in a limited way, how women’s sport concerns surfaced in the media in the aftermath of a forced industry shutdown; to gauge reactions, assess real and perceived threats; and to examine how and whether this crisis inspired positive thoughts about women’s sport opportunities for the future. Our work is based on the tracking of articles published in major news outlets about the impact of the pandemic on women’s sport from March 10, 2020, to May 25, 2020. Readings of the collected articles revealed several themes that fit within the two pandemics framework: reactions to the loss of momentum in women’s sport; fears regarding a reversal in gains made by women’s sport in the marketplace as competition for limited resources escalates; concerns about women’s sport participation decreasing due to cuts and delays in programs; and a focused commitment to gender equity and maintaining momentum, even in the face of significant headwinds.

The authors are with Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY, USA. Staurowsky is also with Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Staurowsky (staurows@ithaca.edu) is corresponding author.
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