Super Bowl XLVII: Where were all the women?


CBS’ Super Bowl XLVII broadcast has received rave reviews. Analysts can’t argue with the ratings and they said the broadcast team handled the power outage with ease. Their  one critique was the network’s failure to bleep out a swear word used by Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco.

It seemed CBS had the dream-team broadcasting line-up for the big game. They had the familiar faces of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms and a stellar supply of highly-decorated players and coaches.

But there was something missing … 


Where were the female broadcasters, CBS?

Sure, there were female reporters in pregame coverage, but where was the representation during the game when viewership was in the millions?

The answer? No where to be found.

It’s not surprising a female would not be on the play-by-play or color commentary for any football game, but perhaps more surprising were the male sideline reporters.

Sad to say it, but females have become the “token” sideline reporters. But even at that, CBS was lacking.

So, what prevented CBS from having female broadcasters? Is it because females don’t watch football? According to an article by Clark, Apostolopoulou and Gladden (2009) titled, “Real Women Watch Football,” that just isn’t true. In fact, 45 percent of the Super Bowl viewers are female, their study found.

Is it because women aren’t going into journalism?

I can tell you we are here. We are in journalism school, making the Dean’s list, working for little pay at local newspapers and TV stations and getting involved in campus media. We are networking, we are building our resumes and we are working just as hard, if not harder, as our male counterparts.

So, it’s simply not a matter of supply. It’s demand.

Female broadcasters, particularly for football, aren’t in demand.

Ladies: We have hit the glass ceiling, again.

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About The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project

The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project is a hub for teaching, research, and service related to sport media. The Project benefits students and faculty at Bowling Green State University, and offers outreach and media consulting to area and regional groups that work with student-athletes. Through collaborative efforts of the Sport Management program and the School of Media and Communication, BGSU students have the opportunity to learn such skills as sports writing, reporting, broadcasting, announcing, public relations, media relations, communication management and production. Faculty and other scholars have access to resources about the commercial and sociological aspects of sport.

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