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Sports Center is a production of ESPN on cable television. It is a mixture of scores, game highlights, commentary, interviews and human interest feature stories. All of the people who are part of the ESPN broadcast team are, of course, intelligent, well-spoken, and attractive.
A lady by the name of Dana Jacobson was one of the primary anchors doing two of the three shows. She worked with one man named Mike Greenberg and another by the name of Dave Revasine. There were other females involved in the broadcasting, mostly as interviewers who also did a small amount of commentary related to what ever interview they did. There is, besides the gender mix, also an ethnic mix that is actually more diverse for women than men. There are Caucasian, African-American and Hispanic peoples represented by the women and Caucasian and African-American by the men. The gender ratio is approximately 3:1 males to females. Overall, a great deal of the programming for all three broadcasts focused around basketball with baseball and hockey about even in second spot. It is interesting that hockey didn't receive more air time. The focus on basketball is understandable as the leagues are in their play-offs for who will be in the championship game but right now, the Stanley Cup series is in progress and that series is the championship of professional hockey. For this championship series to receive a smaller proportion of the air time and share about the same place as a sport that is just starting its season seems odd. The conclusion one could draw from this is that hockey is not as popular, or perhaps, as well-understood a sport, as basketball and baseball.
Other individual sports or sport-related issues, covered on the three shows I reviewed were, auto racing and the Indy 500, horse racing and the third Triple Crown race coming up, a brief hit on lacrosse, tennis and the French Open, and a human interest feature about a former player for the Athletics who pretty thoroughly ripped up his career and life in general with drink and drugs. The story went on to tell of some kind of physical disability that hit him that he is now fighting back from.
The single most prevalent programming is commercials. Of total programming or three hours and forty-five minutes, 64-68 minutes -- it is difficult timing accurately because of the way the program pops in and out of stories and commercials -- of the total programming is commercials. That also works out t o about a 3:1 ratio.
There didn't seem to be any particular difference in the quality of the stories assigned to either gender of anchor. For the most part, they equally handled all the top stories, doing lead-ins to things like the "shoot arounds," which were panel of experts on baseball and basketball and the Stanley Cup. The panel on baseball discussed the pitchers who would be starting games to be played that day (Friday) and that commentary had to do with the fact that there were five Cy Young award winners starting between the teams involved. There was further discussion on who had the "meanest" pitches. This was followed up through the next period of broadcasting by a feature on these pitchers as to how fast they could pitch, how many times they won the award and what their "signature" pitch is.
The second "shoot around," was discussing the NBA play-offs. One of the features attached to this was about the Indiana pacers of 1975 when they were called the "Bad Boys," because they were so physical and aggressive on the court. The shots shown included many fights. The third "shoot around" discussed the Stanley Cup and of course, any time hockey is discussed there are always shots of the fights.
Many of the females involved were interviewers for players from the play-off teams and except for Dana Jacobson, that is really all they did except adding a couple of comments after the interview.
Auto racing, with the Indy 500 as the center piece, was the next best represented sport. There were a couple of sort of features and the French driver Gilde Farran, who has won the "Indy" offered comments and insights as to what that was like.
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