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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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“No More Sacred Cows”

“No More Sacred Cows”

The End of ABC Sports’ Golden Age

(p.193) Seven “No More Sacred Cows”
ABC Sports

Travis Vogan

University of California Press

Cable outlets emerged in the mid-1970s and used the practices ABC Sports had established to gain a toehold in the new industry. To mitigate these threats, ABC acquired majority ownership of ESPN, the first all-sports cable channel and the biggest threat to its market share. But traditionally reliable ABC Sports programs like Wide World of Sports and Monday Night Football sank in popularity as the sports television market expanded. Adding to these changes—and reflecting the upsurge of corporate consolidation that marked the 1980s—Capital Cities Communications acquired ABC in 1985 and implemented a series of budgetary, procedural, and personnel changes that saw ABC Sports give up both Arledge and the Olympics. Chapter 7 considers how these shifts altered ABC Sports’ previously secure place within the reconstituted ABC, sports television, and popular culture while contextualizing the broader industrial transformation they foretold.

Keywords:   cable television, ESPN, deregulation, Capital Cities Communication, Roone Arledge

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