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Thomas Horky

In most countries, live broadcasts of sports events generate enormous numbers of viewers and reach impressive market shares. In this article, the author examines the structures of major football (soccer) broadcasts on German television and makes conclusions on the quality of sports journalism. A longitudinal analysis is made of the broadcasts of the last 9 German matches in World and European Cup championships of the past 16 years on German television. A closer look at different parts reveals an increasing loss of meaning for live coverage, as well as rising preliminary and postreporting within the broadcasts. A finer cross-section examination of the football finals in 2006 and 2010 shows a lack of journalistic programming in the live broadcasts, with an increasing loss of meaning for sports journalism

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Thomas Horky, Marianna Baranovskaa, Christoph G. Grimmer, Honorata Jakubowska and Barbara Stelzner

Football’s (soccer’s) EURO 2016 in France marked a high point for sport journalism and broadcasting. Due to the implementation of a uniform multilateral image feed by the European Football Association (UEFA), differences in the verbal live commentary became significant. This study investigated commentary of the live television broadcasts of 4 matches in a specific country. Using social identity and self-categorization, a mixed-methods analysis was employed to quantitatively analyze the commentary and qualitatively assess content for notions of nationalism, patriotism, or globalization. Instead of notions of ideological nationalism, coverage emphasized sporting action and Europeanization of the event. Excluding forms of “banal nationalism” like introducing the teams and playing national anthems, live commentary presented fair or positive patriotism, together with remarks of transnational friendship and comradeship of the players. Based on the increasing frequency of sport organizations using similar image feeds in the future, a decreasing relevance for live commentary by national broadcasters is discussed.