Alternative Telecasts and the Ongoing Fracturing of Sports Television


Several media companies have recently experimented with expanding their television coverage of major sporting events across multiple outlets, offering traditional telecasts on their flagship channels while adding alternative telecasts on secondary outlets. Significantly, unlike most second-screen experiences, the alternative telecasts offered on secondary outlets have largely been meant not to complement the traditional telecasts but rather to substitute for them. In order to better understand what this new model of sports telecasting means for the present and future of sports television, this article is split into two parts. First, the article traces the rise of alternative telecasts, in the process distinguishing them from second-screen experiences and explaining their industrial origins. Second, the article examines how alternative telecasts contribute to the ongoing fracturing of sports television and, in the process, both continue to erode the communal engagement of sports television and reshape the genre’s relationship to its audiences.

Journal of Sports Media, 15(2)