From Daily to Real Time: The Evolution of Sports Reporting

Ever stop and think about how much different your news consumption is compared to when you were young???

I was recently reminiscing about 1980’s college basketball with a coworker and it somehow got me thinking about the ‘good old days’ and how different sports news was reported then. I figured its worth spending a little blog real estate here going over the evolution.

Early 1980’s: Weekly & Daily Reporting

I have been following sports since the very early 80s. When I started, my news came primarily from the 6PM TV news and the local newspaper’s sports section. Weekly TV shows like This Week in Baseball, The George Michaels Sports Machine and weekly pubs like Sports Illustrated occasionally introduced me to players and teams outside my local market. I had access to some stats, mostly local players, but usually had to wait for the next year’s set of trading cards to come out before I knew how the rest of the league fared.

Late 1980’s-Early 1990’s: Daily & Hourly Reporting

With the explosion of cable TV, sports reporting became a great deal more timely and national. ESPN’s Sportscenter expanded the 10 minute sports report to an hour and exposed you daily to players, teams and sports outside your local market. If you were really impatient for your sporting news, CNN Headline News channel offered you a 5 minute update every half hour and scrolled the scores and headlines continuously at the bottom of your screen.

Late 1990’s: Almost Real Time Reporting

Then came the Internet. I found myself going to sites like throughout the day, making the sports section of the newspaper of no use to me and giving me an extra hour at 6PM to watch Simpsons reruns. The internet not only offered you news about every sport imaginable, but it also gave you all the sortable stats you would ever need and fun ‘new’ games like fantasy sports.

This period also saw the explosion of sports talk radio. 24/7 talk up to this point had been dominated by conservative politicians and financial advisers. Now sports nuts had a chance to listen to, and interact with, sports reporters and players and receive (relatively) real time news as it happened.

Mid 2000‘s-Present: True Real Time Reporting

We are now an ‘instant gratification’ society and sports reporting doesn’t disappoint. Everything you want to know comes to you directly as it happens. You can follow reporters and players on Twitter and find out the instance events happen; You can watch channels like the NFL Network’s Red Zone and see every touchdown as it is scored; You can listen to sports radio around the world with satellite radio. News comes so instantaneously that reporters now rush to scoop rumors making the actual news event not even newsworthy.

I don’t really look at a newspaper sports section anymore; Ditto for Sports Illustrated. I can’t even tell you the last time I watched Sportscenter. Its amazing that news outlets like those, ones that were so critical in news gathering throughout my early years, have become so irrelevant in my latter years of real time consumption.

Of course, this evolution is not exclusive to sports news. We are seeing this real time need for news forcing newspapers and magazines across the globe to turn to web and social media reporting to get the news out as fast as possible- and struggling to make it profitable.

How has your news consumption changed over the years???