Sports Highlights

A History of Plays Replayed from Edison to ESPN and Beyond, 2d ed.


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About the Book

This expanded second edition traces the development and popularity of the sportscast highlight—the dominant news frame in the crowded medium of electronic sports journalism—as the primary means of communicating about sports and athletes. The book explores the intricate relationships among media producers, sports leagues and organizations, and audiences, and explains that sportscast highlights are not a recent development. They were often used within a news context in every medium—from early news film actualities and newsreels to network and cable television to today’s new media platforms.
New to this edition are three chapters that explore developments in sports media from cultural, economic and technological perspectives. An obsession with highlights has seen video replay increasingly used to adjudicate sporting events, marking a new level of reliance on technology. The media’s quest for greater certitude and integrity corresponds with the rise of sponsorship of pro teams by gambling operators—with sports betting ads and on-screen odds now routinely appearing in sportscasts. Long-form sports documentaries have become popular, often highlighting a fascination with “firsts”—rooted in notions of human conquest over nature—that has remained an important source of sports mythmaking.

About the Author(s)

Ray Gamache is a retired professor of journalism, having taught for more than 35 years. His articles have been published in American Journalism, the Journal of Sport Media, and Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature, among others. He lives in South Portland, Maine.

Bibliographic Details

Ray Gamache
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 284
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9228-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5079-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Preface 1
Preface to the Second Edition 7
Introduction: The Highlight Mythmaking Machine 9
Chapter  1. Knockout Rounds and Rounding Marks 21
Chapter  2. The Habit of Highlights 47
Chapter  3. Bad Habits 62
Chapter  4. A Dream of Carnage and the Electronic Monster 75
Chapter  5. The Agony and the Ecstasy of Communication 94
Chapter  6. Sports Junkies, Junk Journalism and Cathode Ray Sterilization 115
Chapter  7. The Little Shop of Highlights 138
Chapter  8. The Real Virtuality for an Audience of One 156
Chapter  9. Replay and the Façade of Certitude 175
Chapter 10. Dead Reckoning and the Discourse of Deviation 191
Chapter 11. Big Data and the Gamblification of Sport (Media) 209
Chapter 12. Highlights and History 223
Chapter Notes 235
Bibliography 253
Index 267