The Changes in Sport Broadcast Technology

Ever since the radio allowed for the first sports broadcasts to be heard by people besides those inside of the stadium or on the benches by the field, sports have been broadcast to an increasingly larger population. As technology developed, it has allowed for a myriad of sports to be discovered by audiences that might otherwise miss them.

The continued changes that technology may bring will alter the way that audiences around the world hear and see the games that are broadcast.

Let’s take a short look at some of the things technology has done before taking a closer look at the things it might be able to do in the near future.

1. The First Large Audience Radio Broadcasts

The first time that any sizable audience had a sports event broadcast to them was during a match between the University of Texas and Texas A&M. This broadcast was conducted by WTAW on November 25, 1920.

Though numerous broadcasts continued after this date, it wasn’t until November 29th, 1934 that the first professional game was broadcast to millions when the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions competed against each other on Thanksgiving.

These radio broadcasts were the first step to making sports available to a wider audience.

2. Nearly Instant Replays

Instant replays are common in basketball, football, tennis and a number of other sports. Unsurprisingly enough, the instant replay comes from hockey.

In 1963, Tony Verna rigged a VCR to work with a playback machine. This allowed CBS to have the first “instant” replay that didn’t take 30 seconds to prepare.

This put into motion the idea that moments from televised games could be viewed multiple times. It would later lead to entire games being reproduced and sold for fans to enjoy when they couldn’t attend or watch. It also allowed fans to enjoy some of the greatest plays ever made time and time again.


Until September 7, 1979, sports were televised by large networks for only a small portion of the day. This meant that only sports like baseball and football really received publicity.

ESPN changed all that when they came on the air. ESPN dared to play nothing but sports all the time during the day.

4. Sports Streaming on the Internet

Until 2005, bandwidth and other infrastructure-related issues made video streaming impractical. The kind of quality you could receive while doing so was too low to really enjoy.

This changed when Major League Baseball began to broadcast their first live Internet streams of games. ESPN soon followed with ESPN3.com, which was their exclusively online streaming network. Sports that were both obscure and unpopular with the majority were able to receive the airtime that their fans wanted because of this.

Where Will Sports Broadcasting Go?

Developments like 3D televisions and glasses will soon allow for you to feel as if you’re in the stadium while sitting on bleachers.

Another possibility is that you’ll be able to relive sporting events in a holographic simulation, much like those on science fiction shows.

The possibilities for sports broadcasting are seemingly endless. The only way to see what will develop is to wait for it, but until then, there are still amazing ways to watch that next big game.

Leave a Reply