A 2010 survey into the demographics involved in organised sports found that, of the 24000 people surveyed from varied places around the country, 29% of males and 24% of females were involved in organised sports (ABS, 2010). This data obviously demonstrates that females have a very similar level of direct, physical involvement in sports to that of men. Why, though, do female representations in sports media and broadcasting not correspond to this statistic? Any cursory examination of sports publications, web sites or television programs supports the common belief that sports media, at least in the mainstream, has its attention skewed drastically towards sports being played by males.
It is this belief that has spurned my group in BCM210 to focus our survey and subsequent research on the perceptions of our peers regarding female sports and their coverage in sports media, as well as to measure any support already present for a future greater female focus in sports media. Draft questions have since been organised and, to give them a bit of a test run, I’ve decided to give a quick interview to a good friend of mine, a woman who will be known as O.G.
Interviewer: Thanks for taking part. First question, do you like or are you interested in any sort of sport?
O.G: Well, I enjoy playing it.
Interviewer: Do you follow sports news closely or watch any game broadcasts?
O.G: Nope, not at all.
Interviewer: Ah. I should probably include a question like this in the survey to exclude people who aren’t interested in sport, regardless of a players sex, to keep them from skewing data.
O.G: Seems like a good idea. You’re as smart as you are handsome.
Interviewer: I’ll just skip down to the other question that applies to you then… Would you possibly be more interested in sports media or sports broadcasts were they to take a equal focus to female and male sports?
O.G: Nope, not at all.
Interviewer: Thanks for your time.
The dry run didn’t exactly go to plan.
It did function well, though, to expose a possible compromise in my data collection and a possible side set of data that would highlight a group of people that, though interested in sport, were not interested in sports media. A flow chart could be used to separate this group and collect data about how they would react were there to be a greater focus on female sports in media; which would help to determine whether a greater presence of female sports would be sustainable in the future. Oh, data.
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2010, Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity 2010, 6285.0, accessed 17 April 2015