The Thin Line Between Masculinity and Skate: Primetime Narratives of Male Figure Skaters on the CBC and NBC 2014 Winter Olympic Broadcasts

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 Utica College
  • 2 University of Delaware
  • 3 University of Alabama
  • 4 Indiana University
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An empirical analysis was conducted focusing on how the United States-based NBC and the Canada-based CBC portrayed male figure skaters in comparison with their male Winter Olympic counterparts on the networks’ primetime 2014 Olympic broadcasts. Using 100% of all primetime broadcast content as a universe of investigation, NBC’s and the CBC’s commentary about male figure skaters was compared with the aggregate of all other male Winter Olympians in the areas of success, failure and personality/physicality. Analysis of NBC’s primetime coverage of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games revealed five (5) significantly-different dialogue trends between male figure skaters and the aggregate of other male Winter Olympians, while analysis of the CBC’s primetime coverage revealed seven (7) significantly-different dialogue trends between male figure skaters and the aggregate of other male Winter Olympians. Differences were not consistent from network to network, showing that NBC and CBC treated male figure skaters differently, yet in significantly different manners by network. Insights are offered on the theoretical and applied levels.

Une analyse empirique a été conduite pour savoir comment la chaîne américaine NBC et la chaîne canadienne CBC présentaient les patineurs sur glace par rapport à leurs homologues masculins participant aux Jeux Olympiques d’Hiver lors de leurs prime times en 2014. En utilisant 100% du contenu des prime times diffusés comme terrain d’investigation, les commentaires de NBC et de CBC concernant les patineurs sur glace ont été comparés à ceux, agrégés, de tous les autres olympiens masculins dans le domaine de la réussite, de l’échec, de la personnalité et du physique. L’analyse de la couverture des Jeux Olympiques 2014 de Sotchi en prime time sur NBC a révélé cinq types de discours significativement différents entre les patineurs et l’ensemble des autres olympiens alors que l’analyse de la couverture en prime time du CBC en a révélé sept. Les différences ne sont pas similaires d’une chaîne à l’autre, ce qui montre que NBC et CBC ont traité les patineurs sur glace différemment. Des éclairages sont apportés aux niveaux théoriques et appliqués.

MacArthur is with the Department of Public Relations and Journalism, Utica College, Utica, NY. Angelini is with the Department of Communication, University of Delaware, Newark DE. Billings is with the Department of Journalism & Creative Media, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL. Smith is with The Media School, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

Address author correspondence to Paul MacArthur at pmacart@utica.edu.
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