The ESPNification of Football Bowl Subdivision College Football: The Adoption of an Integrated Marketing Communication Televisuality in Football Bowl Subdivision Bowl Game Broadcasts

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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  • 1 Troy University, Troy, AL, USA
  • | 2 Western Colorado University, Gunnison, CO, USA
  • | 3 University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA
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Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) bowl games represent a final opportunity for teams to showcase themselves in front of a national television audience. Capital One Bowl Mania, as branded by the broadcast network ESPN, is a signature event of college football, and the College Football Playoff national championship marks the end of the FBS season. During the 2019–2020 FBS postseason, ESPN owned the broadcast rights to 36 of the 41 FBS bowl games. Controlling nearly 90% of FBS bowl games, ESPN controls the representation of almost every broadcast bowl game. Informed by extant research on the now defunct Bowl Championship Series, this study looks for evidence of a hypercommercial media logic in the institutional field of FBS bowl games. Using a mixed-method approach, this paper investigates the reproduction of a sample of 18 FBS bowl game broadcasts and considers the extent to which the increased use of in-game graphics in broadcast production structures and practices reflects an hypercommercial media logic.

Corr (ccorr@troy.edu) is corresponding author, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8729-3031

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