The intention in this paper is to explore the expanding role of women in sports broadcasting. Television sports is one of the unifying elements of popular culture, as witness the current focus on the Olympic games. For the most part, however, sports television has been the domain of male sports figures, male broadcasters, and male viewers. This has gradually changed over the past few decades, although male events tend to remain the most popular, with the Super Bowl, NCAA and NBA basketball finals, World Series, and Indy 500 at the top of the ladder. However, there has been increasing interest in women's events, and sports such as figure skating and gymnastics that seem to appeal more to women. Nonetheless, the field remains dominated by men, with women only gradually moving toward strong minority representation.
In order to understand the development of the role of women sports broadcasters specifically, and the current limits on women in sports broadcasting, it is important to have some background information about the development of television sports. The first section focuses on this historical background, with later sections specifically focusing on women broadcasters.
Television is a relatively new technology and medium of communication. Sports broadcasting has been a part of television from the beginning, with the first broadcast of a baseball game between Columbia and Princeton occurring on May 17 of 1939. Immediately following that, heavyweight contenders Max Baer and Lou Nova fought in Yankee Stadium on live television on June 1, 1939. There was a succession of first to follow, with August 26th marking the first professional baseball game, and that fall seeing the first broadcast of a professional football game as the Brooklyn Dodgers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 2314. In 1940 came more breakthroughs, with remote telecasts of professional hockey, basketball, and track (McDonald, 1990).
ABC is conside...