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TV SPORTS 101: PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER OFFERS HISTORY LESSON
Published December 4, 1997
The relationship between sports and TV was examined in an extensive front-page story by Seplow & Storm in today's PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Seplow & Storm: "Sports, perhaps more than any other aspect of American life, has been changed by television. It has made sports a multibillion- dollar industry. In the process, athletes have been transformed from mere heroic figures, able to throw farther and run faster than other mortals, into highly skilled, highly paid commodities, props to boost ratings and sell advertising. That's why the networks concentrate so hard on profiles of Michael Jordan, Brett Favre, Ken Griffey Jr. and Tiger Woods. The television-sports partnership depends on personalities to keep fan interest high." In '96, sports coverage "consumed" 2,100 hours of time on the four networks -- 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year -- not counting ESPN and other cable networks (PHILADELPHIA INQURIER, 12/4). PARTNERS: THE INQURIER's Seplow & Storm: "Virtually no experience is as commonly shared on such a mass basis. ... Sports and television have developed such a symbiotic relationship that neither can live without the other." NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol: "[I]n our society, outside of the Oscars, no major event will get you a large audience but baseball postseason, the Olympics, the NBA championship, the Super Bowl, and a few golf events. We use that to put our other wares on the shelf" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/4).