chapter  1
22 Pages

Introduction

ByWilliam M. Kunz

Chapter 1, “Introduction,” presents the theoretical foundation for this analysis and advances a range of questions in the application of that framework to sports television in the United States at the end of the 2010s. The critical political economy of the media is concerned with the production, distribution, and consumption of resources and the power relations that influence their allocation. In short, it explores the balance between capitalist enterprise and state intervention. There is no disputing that the last quarter-century witnessed a proliferation of sports television outlets in the United States: broadcast, cable, and satellite, in addition to the more recent emergence of streaming services, but one must question whether that multiplicity resulted in diversity of ownership and voices in the marketplace. The late 2010s, moreover, provide an important moment for such an analysis, as a number of major sports television contracts in the United States will be negotiated over the first half of the 2020s, including those for the National Football League, National Hockey League, and National Basketball Association and most of the rights for Major League Baseball.