Male vs Female Football Commentator’s Air Time Revealed
Over the last few years, there has been much debate about the gender imbalance between the number of male football commentators and pundits covering live TV matches compared to the amount of females on screen.
Here at Cheek Punter we have taken a deep dive look into both men’s and women’s professional football games aired on various TV channels since the 2016/17 season to see exactly how the numbers stack up. While the findings did show that overall, female pundits/ commentators are getting more air time for men’s football matches than they did five years ago, there is still a massive gulf and the industry still has a long way to go in terms of addressing the imbalance.
Conversely, it was also extremely evident that male commentators and pundits rarely cover professional women’s matches. Here’s a breakdown of what we found out…
Representation in Men’s Football Commentators
Since the 2016/17 season, the overall numbers of commentators and pundits covering games has grown dramatically across both genders. This is mainly down to the fact that there is much more televised football being aired, due to new channels showing more games such as Amazon Prime. Plus the fact that the global pandemic meant that almost every match was made available for viewers to watch as no fans were allowed in stadiums.
The number of females covering men’s games in either commentator or pundit capacity grew by 5650% from 2016/17 to 2020/21 (a mere 12 appearances to 690). In comparison, last season saw 2500 male commentators and pundits appear in all televised men’s games, a difference of 1810. So while female representation across the sport has improved dramatically in that period, the gap is still huge.
In terms of overall air time, last season worked out as males getting 225,000 compared to females only getting 62,100. Peter Dury covered the most games during the five seasons, with 386 games for various channels. Presenter Kelly Cates (primarily of Sky Sports) appeared the most compared to any other female, covering 230 games – still some 156 less than Dury.
Last season (2020/21) Steve Bower was the most prolific with 167. The top female commentator wasn’t too far behind, as Karen Carney appeared on 142, perhaps showing that things are moving in the right direction, addressing the huge gulf in air time and overall appearances.
Men’s Games Air Time Minutes Breakdown
Representation in Women’s Football Commentators
In televised Women’s football matches, there were very few male commentators and pundits covering games over the last 5 seasons, with just a single appearance in 2016/17. This number grew to 30 appearances last term, it’s still a very low number and can probably be attributed to the fact more women’s games are televised now than 5 years ago.
In terms of overall minutes on the air, last season female commentators gained 9,630 covering professional women’s matches while male commentators accumulated 2,700 in the same season. Again these totals are in huge contrast to 5 seasons ago when it was 630 minutes for females to just the single game of 90 mins for males, covered by Jonathan Pearce, who is the only male commentator to consistently cover women’s matches.
Lucy Ward was the most prolific commentator in this time, covering 54 matches and the aforementioned Jonathan Pearce appeared 46 times in those 5 seasons, which is close to Ward’s figure however, he was one of only a handful of male commentators to do so, accounting for all but 8 matches in the women’s games covered by men.
Women’s matches – Air Time Minutes Breakdown
TV Channel Breakdown