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Impact of Sports Television The mass media particularly television heavily influences the way in which sports are experienced in American society For every person who is physically present at a major professional sporting event for example as many as a thousand may be watching it at home However television is only the most recent medium of mass communication that has influenced sports By the mid-19th century Americans were already experiencing sporting events indirectly At least since 1850 Americans could get accounts of some events particularly boxing and horse racing through the growing telegraph system and they could get journalistic knowledge through magazines Today television not only give audiences the opportunity to view a sporting event it also allow audiences to feel as if they are physically present through the use special effects with television cameras Similar to other tight relationships however television and sports has sometimes become unbalanced During its early years sports had the control and the media had to adapt to sports concerns Now with the enormous growth of televised sport the balance of power shifted Television has played a major part in changing the conduct of sporting events Whether people view such changes as interfering with sports or changing things to improve its entertainment value is really the viewers opinion Many of the changes have been initiated not by television executives but by league officials who usually know how television ratings convert into larger profits in future years From an historical perspective the telegraphy made instant reporting possible and things such as ball games prizefights horse races and other events enabled the expansion of sporting news throughout the latter half of the 19th century Something even more important than its the telegraphys role in facilitating the print medias coverage was the telegraphs role as the first medium to make live coverage of sporting events possible for those fans not actually present In the late 1850s people actually crowded around Western
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