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ABC SportsThe Rise and Fall of Network Sports Television$
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Travis Vogan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520292956

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520292956.001.0001

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ABC’s Wide World of Sports

ABC’s Wide World of Sports

“The Seedbed of Modern Sports Television” and the Cold War

(p.33) Two ABC’s Wide World of Sports
ABC Sports

Travis Vogan

University of California Press

Chapter 2 turns to Wide World of Sports, ABC Sports’ signature show and the primary testing ground for its creative approach. The Saturday afternoon anthology possessed a meager budget that permitted it to secure rights to televise only the most marginal sports. Ski jumping and demolition derbies, for instance, were commonplace during its early years. The Cold War provided a way to dramatize many of the show’s prerecorded and otherwise unpopular events. The program established its popularity and gained much-needed acclaim when it carried a series of track meets between the United States and the Soviet Union that at once emphasized sports television’s capacity to cultivate international harmony and advertised ABC Sports as innovative and edifying.

Keywords:   Wide World of Sports, globalization, Cold War, nationalism, Roone Arledge

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