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Although scholars have increasingly turned their attention to sport spectatorship, few have examined the particular appeals of television sports spectatorship. This study explains the pleasures of televised sports viewing by building on the work of media theorists. In particular, it argues that three types of specular pleasure (fetishism, voyeurism, narcissism) are found in televised sports. Further, it identifies discursive, technological, and social dimensions of televised sport spectating as the sources of those visual pleasures. The voyeurism, fetishism, and narcissism of televised sport are illustrated with examples drawn from videotapes of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.
Margaret Carlisle Duncan is with the Department of Human Kinetics at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201. Barry Brummett is with the Department of Communication at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.