Date of Award

August 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Studies

First Advisor

Elana Levine

Committee Members

Michael Z. Newman, David Allen


Baseball, Entertainment, Football, Sport, Television


This thesis analyzes the growing symbiosis of the sport-television relationship as it evolved during the 1960s. Professional football and baseball are primarily considered they demonstrate the ways television impacted local and national audiences. Football embraced television as a way to disseminate the game to a wider, national audience. Baseball, because of its long history as a local attraction, resisted the encroachment of television. Baseball prioritized the live game over the televised version, while football became more visually descriptive for viewers and took on characteristics of entertainment programming. These changes were technologically, industrially, and economically based, and this thesis discusses the interplay between the television networks and professional sports leagues in these arenas. Critics have decried television’s purported negative influence on fans and sport itself. This thesis instead argues that making sport more like entertainment television has brought a unique viewpoint to games that only became possible because of television technology.