Over the last couple of years, the National Hockey League (NHL) has shown the most support towards the female athletes, compared to their male counterparts. Yet, the NHL’s efforts of female representation didn’t stop on the ice, as they moved their goals into the broadcast booth.
Sunday, Mar. 8, was International Women’s Day. The NHL, to continue their efforts of bringing more women into the game, hosted an all-women broadcast team to announce the first two games. That was the very first time, for any sport.
The historical feat of these games should only be the start of what’s to come. Although the NHL has really pushed to involve more female broadcast teams that cover professional men’s games, many women work on broadcast crews.
From broadcaster, Jessica Mendoza, for ESPN’s Major League Baseball coverage, to sportscaster Erin Andrews down on the football field; there are many women in the sports broadcast. But is there enough?
There are a lot of complicated factors to consider when trying to find out why there aren’t more female broadcast members in the sports world.
There is a stereotype around women not being able to compete on the same playing field as men. However, the women in sports media today have some of the best input and knowledge around. They can and do share the same knowledge of the games as men.
Women have had a good track record in broadcast. As such, there should be more effort to getting them in the booth. Though, it all comes down to the number of women in the business.
Numbers are important to get more women into the scene. Statistics from various broadcasting networks, such as ESPN, shows far more male commentators listed on their pressroom than women. When looking at the positions in sports media, there are more women looking to be reporters and analysts, rather than the typical play-by-play. Yet, when the opportunity comes up, it should be given to those who want to take their crack at it.
When one sees women in the booth of a sports broadcast, it is most often for a women’s league game. This is because many sports broadcasters are former players from the game they are announcing. Thus, the reason why more women do women’s games and men do men’s games.
What about the announcers who don’t have prior experience in the professional sports league they announce for? Names like Vin Scully, Mike Emrick and Jim Nantz, where are their female counterparts? We need to find more of these women and give them the spotlight they deserve.
Sports have no gender differences when it comes to knowledge. If someone is able to talk the game, study the players and have the passion, a sports broadcast booth should have no boundaries.