Brett Hutchins and David Rowe
Sport Beyond Television
The Internet, Digital Media and the Rise of Networked Media Sport
Twenty years ago, when I was studying abroad in Europe, the only way to keep track of my teams back in the US was to sneak looks in The International Herald Tribune at the newspaper kiosk (the price of the paper was beyond my meager budget). Twelve years after that, when I returned to Europe as a researching professor, I was able to watch any event I wanted online. I read the commentary on my home teams in my hometown newspaper. I tracked the rumors of trades and signings on the fan sites. The only obstacle I faced in following my teams was the difference in time zones. Even though the games were available, I seldom had the energy to stay up until 2 in the morning to watch them.
The consumption of sport has changed profoundly in the last two decades. Higher bandwidths and faster processors now bring events to our laptop with the same crispness and color as our televisions. Sports leagues and networks are making more and more events available online. And we have a glimpse into the private lives of star athletes through their tweets. Media and communications scholars Brett Hutchins and David Rowe examine these changes and their effects on clubs, leagues, networks, and fans in Sport Beyond Television: The Internet, Digital Media and the Rise of Networked Media Sport (Routledge, 2013). Drawing on their interviews with sports executives, network producers, and print and television journalists, Brett and David ask how the digital age has transformed sport and, in particular, the televised broadcast of sporting events. Some predict the end of television in the digital age, as people are increasingly downloading their favorite programs. However, as Brett and David point out, live sport remains the one show that ensures a large audience at a fixed time–something that networks and advertisers love. Yes, the Internet puts any event at our fingertips. But you still have to be there at game time–even when it’s 2 AM.