Dunja Antunovic, PhD, assistant professor of sport sociology at the School of Kinesiology and Tucker Center affiliated scholar, recently published a co-authored article titled “Sport, gender, and national interest during the Olympics: A comparative analysis of media representations in Central and Eastern Europe” in the International Review for the Sociology of Sport.
The article analyzed agenda diversity on public service media broadcasters’ Facebook accounts during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, held in the summer of 2021. The study found that broadcasters in Hungary, Croatia, and Slovenia dedicated content to sports that are associated with historical and contemporary success, which vary depending on the country. Women’s sports represented between 16-24% of the content on each platform, exclusively focusing on home nation athletes. In other words, women only received coverage if they represented their own country, often in medal-winning sports.
On the other hand, men’s football (soccer) outside of the Olympic context (e.g., domestic leagues and European football), dominated the coverage in Hungary and Croatia even while the Games were happening. In Olympic sports, Hungary emphasized both men’s and women’s water polo, while Croatia emphasized the country’s success in tennis. The Slovenian platform dedicated most if its Facebook content to men’s basketball, mainly due to the star status of NBA player Luka Dončić. Additional complexities about regional patterns and nation-specific socio-cultural factors are discussed.
This journal article is a part of Antunovic’s ongoing collaboration with Sunčica Bartoluci, PhD, assistant professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Zagreb. Bartoluci and Antunovic are also co-authors on a manuscript titled “Women in a ‘masculine’ sport: The case of wresting,” accepted to the 2022 European Association for Sociology of Sport and the International Sociology of Sport Association World Congress to be held in June in Tübingen, Germany.