This just in: Women watch the Olympics — and enjoy it


Breaking news from the New York Times: Women across America have stopped darning socks and canning tomatoes long enough to really get into this little thing called the Olympics.

Check out this startling report:

There are millions of Ms. Simpsons and Ms. Williamses around the country, watching the Olympics on the networks and Web sites of the NBC Universal division of General Electric. They are also watching commercials from more than 100 advertisers, which are spending more than $1 billion to sponsor the coverage of the 2008 Games in Beijing.

How weird is that? I mean, the Olympics are, like, sports, and women are, like, watching it on television — some of them with their friends. It boggles the mind, I’m telling you.

The article goes on to say:

The large female viewership for the Olympics and the spate of spots intended for women are anomalies in TV sports. Most coverage of athletics is watched by men, which means that most commercials during sports programs like football, baseball, basketball and hockey are aimed at male viewers.

I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that most athletics coverage is of men’s sporting events. I wonder if there’s correlation between the majority of WNBA viewers being women, and the majority of NBA viewers being men. I wonder if more women would watch athletics in the Olympic off-season if there were more women’s sporting events televised. Nah, probably not.

Let’s ask someone in the know what’s really going on here. Peter Gardiner, chief media officer at Deutsch in New York, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies: Why are women watching the Olympics?

The Olympics “has sort of been the anti-sports sport for quite a while. That’s why you see so many female-oriented products advertised there. I was talking to my mother last night, and she said: ‘I’ve got to get off the phone. I’ve got to watch the gymnastics.’”

What?! Your mother got off the phone with you to go watch the largest anti-sporting event in the whole world? Peter Gardiner, that is crazy. Who cooked your dinner?

It’s shocking that 50 percent of people watching the Olympics this year are women. Just the same as it was shocking that Sex and the City: The Movie made so much money. Who knew women like to be entertained?

Bottom line: What will this statistic mean for sports coverage? Will networks and cable stations tap into this powerful advertising demographic and broadcast more women’s sports? Probably not.

You might be surprised to hear this, but at the 2004, 2000, and 1996 Summer Olympics, half of television viewers were women. My guess is that nothing will change, and in 2012 we’ll show up in London and blow the New York Times’ mind all over again.

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