Sports Networks

Sports and television have a unique, symbiotic, and flourishing relationship. From their infancy in the post–World War II era to the multibillion-dollar industries that they are now, sports and television have relied on each other for viewership and economic success. The top-rated annual television show in the United States is the National Football League’s (NFL) Super Bowl. The World Cup soccer final, held every 4 years, draws a ­television audience surpassing 1 billion viewers globally. The push for more sports-viewing opportunities created an explosion of sports networks, with nearly 100 networks spread across the United States and dozens of these networks ­distributed worldwide, including ESPN (Entertainment and Sports Programming Network), Fox Sports, and Golf Channel.

While ESPN built its global brand across multiple platforms beginning in ...

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