Over the years, broadcast television has played a tremendous role in expanding our access to sports. It has helped to broaden audiences and bring sports, like baseball, directly into the homes of millions of people across the country, played a role in increasing the fan base of the sport, and even affecting the game times.
How did it all begin? Let’s break down some major milestones:
The First Televised Professional Baseball Game
It happened on August 26, 1939 on the New York station then known as W2XBS, and was broadcast from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.
More TVs, More Eyeballs, Drives More People to the Ballpark
By 1948, professional baseball game ballpark attendance reached a record high of 21 million. How did TV contribute to this? With televisions becoming more accessible and more common over time, more baseball teams began televising games. Televising games yielded new fans, sparking more interest among them to experience games in person at the ballpark.
First Instant Replay
The first instant replay may have occurred on July 17, 1959, during a broadcast of a game by a local New York station. The videotape replay came showed a hit, which ended a no-hitter.
When Day Games Became Night Games
On October 13, 1971, a baseball championship game was played for the first time at night. League management believed that most baseball fans were either in school or working during the afternoons, when most baseball games were played. It was a huge success, and baseball ratings shot through the roof. From then on, nearly all weekday baseball games would be played at night. The first regular season night game occurred on May 24, 1935.
The game has changed even further with internet accessibility and even more TV networks airing the sport. Now, with games available on broadcast TV through technologies such as mobile internet-connected devices, how will this affect the game for the next generation?