chapter  7
16 Pages


ByWilliam M. Kunz

Chapter 7, “Conclusion,” pulls together threads that are evident in different sectors of sports television in the United States. While it is uncertain what might transpire in the 2020s, and the role digital media platform will assume in the sports television marketplace, the historical evolution over the last quarter-century and the move from differentiation to concentration are quite evident. What is also undeniable is the power of conglomeration in sports television and the various ways in which the federal government contributed to concentration in ownership. Vertical integration of cable programming services and multiple-system operators assumed a critical role in the rise of cable television in the United States, but horizontal connections between broadcast stations and cable services are proving to be far more potent thanks to retransmission consent requirements included in the 1992 Cable Act. That case points to the allocation of resources and the impact of state intervention in the marketplace, concepts that are central to the critical political economy of the media. While broadcasters are mandated to serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity, those licenses are being used to extend the reach of media conglomerates. That, in turn, contributed to a transfer of wealth from cable, satellite, and telco households to sports leagues, conferences, and organizations, with media conglomerates as intermediaries.