How Has American Sports Broadcasting Evolved

Most people watch sports on TV rather than going through the trouble of going to a stadium. The comfort of staying at home is unbeatable. You can prepare a snack for yourself without the inconvenience of waiting in long queues. In addition to that, you can get the best live-action of a match while watching it on TV. There are expert match commentators and the score is always displayed on TV so you will always know which team is ahead during a match. There is a cost advantage as well as going to the stadium to watch a match costs a lot more than watching at home.

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American sports broadcasting has evolved tremendously over the years. Here we will shed light on how this evolution has occurred.

The Initial Years

Before TV was invented, sports coverage was extremely limited. In the early 1900s, the telegraph was used to send match scores, results, and other sports news. This news would then be disseminated through public announcements where someone would be standing in a busy area and verbally read out sports news. Things got a little better with the advent of radio broadcasts. Although you could still not see live sports action, you could now at least listen to it without leaving your house. Sometimes match highlights would be played in theatres before the start of movie shows. Still, the only way to see live sports action was to go to crowded stadiums.

TV broadcasting made its US debut in the 1930s. However, television sets cost a small fortune at the time so they were only available in wealthy households. The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) became the first TV network to broadcast sports in the USA when it provided coverage for a college baseball game between Columbia Lions and the Princeton Tigers. The first international sports event to be broadcast was the 1936 Summer Olympics. However, TV sets would only begin to get popular after World War 2.

The 1950s

There was considerable economic growth in America in the 1950s. This growth enabled wealth to trickle down and American families started getting wealthy. It finally became affordable for a lot of people to purchase TVs. Now they could enjoy their matches at home. TV broadcasts were initially black and white. However, it did not take long for broadcasts to advance to color. The first color broadcasts started in the 1960s.

TV Stations

ABC, NBC, and CBS became the major TV networks in America. These channels provided coverage for all sports that were popular in the country. In addition to the major TV networks, there were syndicated networks as well. These networks were affiliated with the major networks. They also broadcast sports matches.

This was a big advancement in American sports broadcasting. People could now easily watch matches in their homes. However, they only allocated limited time slots to sports so they left a lot to be desired. There was a market for a channel that would offer round-the-clock sports broadcasting.


ESPN tapped into the void left by major networks by launching itself as a dedicated sports channel in 1979. It initially started as a cable network. This was a watershed moment in American sports broadcasting as ESPN began coverage of a wide variety of sports. They started their flagship SportsCentre program that broadcast sports news reports and match highlights. This was a revolution in American Sports broadcasting.

Summing Up

Sports broadcasting today is unrecognizable from when it started. The initial coverage was very basic with just limited time slots available for sports. This was followed up with channels devoted entirely to sports. We are now blessed with streaming services where we can enjoy watching live broadcasts as well as recordings of matches at our desired time. Check out the dish network channel guide to get the best TV services.