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if it’s unintended?

From the Freakonomics Blog (The Hidden Side of Everything) at the New York Times: Why Doesn’t ESPN Cover Women?

Women’s sports have become much more popular in recent years.  In 2009, 3.1 million high school-aged girls and 4.4 million high school-aged boys played sports, compared to 294,000 girls and 3.7 million boys in 1971.  However, new research finds that media coverage of women’s sports has dropped considerably.  In 1989, the evening sports news shows devoted 5 percent of their time to women’s sports vs. 92 percent to men’s sports; women’s sports coverage peaked at 8.7 percent in 1999 before dropping to 1.6 percent in 2009.  ESPN’s Sportscenter devoted only 1.4% of its time to women’s sports coverage in 2009.  

Michael Messner, one of the study’s coauthors, thinks that the lack of coverage stems from fear and inertia, rather than commercial reasons: “Men are capable of doing really good sports reporting on women’s sports and a lot of men really like women’s sports. But I think there is a fear on a lot of their parts, if they don’t stay with the big three sports.”

*really long sentence alert. take a deep breath!*

I’ll be interested to see if Freakster Stephen D. — who I met when I was at the WNYC studios a while back because I asked the same question of our local NPR station — responds to my email pointing him to the NY Times writers for their answers.

On a side note, light bulb kinda thing — isn’t it interesting that the athletic gear people seem to be able to tap into the “female market” but the news media can’t?

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