“The public narrative that as more women play sports, more women are going to watch sports, is simply not happening,” says Whiteside. “And one reason for that is the role that women have in the family unit. Their role as domestic caretakers trumps their role as fan.”

In the interviews, the women, some of whom were stay-at-home moms, and others who worked outside the home, all acknowledged that household chores such as cleaning, and family responsibilities such as driving their children to school and after-school activities, took priority over watching sports on TV. And when they did watch sports, they rarely caught events in their entirety, catching sporadic bits and pieces instead. “Women’s TV sports consumption habits were more mediated by their personal schedules than by team schedules or TV schedules,” says Whiteside…

Unanimously, however, the women said they preferred watching the Olympics, because of the way the programming is packaged and delivered in compressed and easy-to-follow narratives.