Sports broadcasting has been around for a little over 100 years. KDKA, a radio station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, broadcasted a boxing match live on site in 1921. The broadcast was the first of its kind and sports broadcasting was born. Since that time, both TV and radio broadcasts have dominated the US in terms of consumption and ratings.Since COVID-19 struck last March, the way that sports broadcasts look have completely changed whether you realize it or not.
Companies are looking to cut budget costs since the shutdown and the loss is coming at the hands of the broadcasters. Broadcasters continue to suffer more and more as the landscape continues to move towards remote broadcasts.
When the pandemic shut down the world in March of last year, sports were nowhere to be found until they returned to some form of normalcy in early July.
We saw the NBA bubble in Orlando, FL with virtual fans and pumped in crowd noise from video games like NBA 2K or EA Sports’ Madden. That was an entirely new look to a television broadcast and one that was very easy to see from both an audio and visual standpoint.
One aspect that you may not have noticed, was the broadcasters calling games from their home studios or even back in their company headquarters. This was something that we were not accustomed to at such a large scale.
The Olympics have been broadcast from studios in the US on TV screens thousands of miles away in a different country. We never saw this on a day-to-day basis though.
The broadcast tends to suffer as announcers continue to move away from arenas. Before COVID-19, broadcasters would arrive in the cities two to three days in advance to interview teams, players, coaches, etc. Now, they are granted a mere 20 to 30 minutes to conduct zoom interviews, which takes away from some of the behind the scene stories which draws fans into the live broadcast itself.
As someone who is gearing up to enter the sports media world, it is somewhat of a scare to know that the new reality of sports broadcasting is gloomy. As companies continue to cut back costs and find new ways to produce a similar broadcast, this will only eliminate jobs in an already extremely competitive field.
I don’t know what the world of sports broadcasting will look like in 10 or 15 years, but one thing that I can tell you is that it will look a whole lot different than it did before COVID-19 pervaded the world last year.