Television is the most immediate and compelling medium for sports coverage. Consequently, the sports presentations that it delivers, particularly championship series, attract a vast and devoted audience. This study provided a detailed, descriptive content analysis of the television broadcast packaging of the 1982-83 championship games, both professional and university, of the four most popular North American team sports—baseball, football, hockey, and basketball. Videotape recordings of the entire broadcast packages centered upon these games were analyzed. The program content was divided into four specific and distinct components: advertisements, pre- and postgame programs, between-play time, and live-play time. The ensuing discussion addressed the basic structure of each broadcast package, the absolute and relative data for each of the four components of the various games and, finally, the intriguing relationship between the derived data (particularly the live-play time component) and concomitant levels of viewer ratings. Concluding comments reflected on the significance of the findings and also provided considerations for future research based upon materials presented within the study.
Requests for reprints should be sent to: Klaus V. Meier, Thames Hall, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ont. N6A 3K7 Canada.