Within the discipline of Performance Studies there is a debate about what is included within the ontology of “performance.” Peggy Phelan suggests that performance can only be experienced in the here and now, and any recording of a performance makes it “something other than performance.” Phillip Auslander argues the exact opposite, claiming that mediatized performance is not only valid, but also preferable to the live. This thesis is about performance in sports broadcasting, and states that performance, like sport, can be valid in both live and mediatized forms. The thesis also details how sports broadcasters perform and how their performance changes based on the time frame of the sport they're talking about: past, present and future. When sports are televised the process of broadcasting creates voids and gaps in the viewing experience that must be filled by the sportscasters. For past sporting events SportsCenter, and highlight shows like it, cut entire sporting events down to segments that only last a few moments. A need is created for these sportscasters to fill in the gaps with their performances, which explain what is happening, analyze how the game was played, and give humor and fun to the images. When announcers and analysts perform over live games they attempt to make up for the gap in broadcasting by narrativizing the event and turning a contest into a story. They do this by giving background information and histories about the game and players, explaining how the game is played, why events unfolded the way that they did, and bringing excitement to the game by how excited they themselves become. When Sportscasters predict outcomes of future events they usually do so by first looking to the past, and then making prognostications based on either statistical data, or on their own “gut” feelings. These predictions are very rarely accurate, and mostly have as much validity as guesses. Through these performances the sportscasters can sometimes greatly enhance a viewing experience of a game, but sometimes these performers take away from the enjoyment and the essence of the sports they broadcast. Viewers need to be aware of how performers can manipulate, or attempt to manipulate, an audience to keep them tuned in.



College and Department

Fine Arts and Communications; Theatre and Media Arts



Date Submitted


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sports broadcasting, performance studies