Sports Emmy nominations put a spotlight on women’s sports

Simone Biles' documentary was featured amongst the nominees. (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Nominees for the 43rd annual Sports Emmy Awards were announced Wednesday, with women’s sports featured in a number of categories.

“The challenges these talented sports professionals have overcome to deliver exciting, entertaining and innovative coverage of the world of sports these last two years during a world-wide pandemic is extraordinary,” said Adam Sharp, the president and CEO of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which presents the awards.

Nominees focused on women’s sports include ESPN’s “144” documentary on the 2020 WNBA season, Facebook Watch’s “Simone vs. Herself” docuseries on Simone Biles. The nominees include:

  • Long documentary: ESPN’s “144,” HBO’s “LFG”
  • Documentary series: HBO’s “Level Playing Field”
  • Documentary series – serialized: Peacock’s “Golden: The Journey of USA’s Elite Gymnasts,” Facebook Watch’s “Simone vs. Herself”
  • Outstanding short feature: NFL Network’s “Sam Gordon: In a League of Their Own”
  • Outstanding long feature: HBO’s “Oksana: The Remarkable Story of Paralympic Superstar Oksana Masters”

This year’s awards also features the most nominees in the history of the Sports Emmys.

“This year’s competition is a proud moment for the entire industry,” said Justine Gubar, the head of sports awards for NATAS. “I am deeply looking forward to our first in-person sports ceremony since 2019 so that we can celebrate the groundbreaking accomplishments of the last year.”

This year is the first in which the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has released demographic information about its judges. By their own admission, the organization has work to do on representation in the sports category.

According to the report, 73 percent of Sports Emmy judges are male while 25 percent are female. Additionally, 82 percent of judges are white while just nine percent are Black, seven percent Latino and three percent Asian American. Just four percent publicly identify as LGBTQ.

The report aims to bring more transparency to the process.

“This document is designed to provide that transparency, and illustrate the due diligence that the NATAS staff, the judges and the awards committee take to preserve the integrity of that that process,” Sharp said. “The competition is only as strong as the community confidence in it and in the results.”