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Sports Broadcasting

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Sports Broadcasting

This is a 'timeline' of firsts in sports broadcasting.

In compiling this page I had a good deal of trouble finding anything like an authoritative summary on the Internet. There are a couple of contradictory claims; for example, if the boxing match in 1921 was the first sporting event to be broadcast by voice, how was the football game in 1920 broadcast?

If you can help, please do.

Details of an ice hockey game are transmitted by telegraph from Montreal to Winnipeg 1896
Plays in a gridiron football game in Columbia, Missouri between Missouri and Kansas are transmitted by telegraph to Lawrence, Kansas, and 'recreated' on a large model of the field 1911
A gridiron football game between the University of Texas and Texas Mechanical College is broadcast by radio 25 November 1920
A boxing match in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the first sporting event to be broadcast by voice 11 April 1921
The BBC receives its Royal Charter, becoming a public corporation and gaining the right to cover major sporting events 1 January 1927
A rugby union match between England and Wales is the first sporting event to be broadcast in the UK 8 January 1927
A Football League match between Arsenal and Sheffield United, at Highbury, is the first football match to be broadcast in the UK. A diagram showing the pitch divided into eight 'squares' is published in Radio Times, to enable the commentator to tell listeners where the action was – giving rise, according to some, to the phrase "back to square one" 22 January 1927
The Grand National, the Boat Race, the FA Cup Final, the Derby and Wimbledon are all broadcast for the first time (in that order) 1927
Television images of a tennis player hitting a ball are transmitted. This is often cited as the first television sports coverage, but it wasn't really a sporting 'event' 12 July 1928
Coverage of a baseball game at Waseda University, Tokyo, is transmitted via closed curciut television (i.e. not broadcast) to the university's electronics laboratory 17 February 1931
John Logie Baird transmits images of the Epsom Derby – the first ever live sports broadcast on television; only 29 people owned 'televisors' and were able to watch 2 June 1931
Coverage of the Berlin Olympics is relayed to cinemas in Berlin and Potsdam: the first sports broadcast using electronic television equipment (Baird's equipment was mechanical ) 1936
The BBC hires Herry Mallin to provide the first television sports commentary, for an amateur boxing match between England and Ireland 4 February 1937
Wimbledon is shown on television for the first time 1937
A specially–arranged game between Arsenal and Arsenal Reserves is the first football match to be shown on television 16 Sep 1937
The Oxford–Cambridge boat race and the FA Cup Final are shown on television for the first time 1938
A college baseball match between Columbia Lions and Princeton Tigers is the first sporting event to be shown on television in the USA 17 May 1939
A Davis Cup match between the USA and Australia is the first sporting event to be shown on television in colour 26 August 1955
Action replays (with a 30–second delay) are used in coverage of an ice hockey match in Canada 1955
Slow–motion replays are used for the first time in the USA 1956
The Grand National is televised by the BBC for the first time 1960
'Instant replays' are used in the annual gridiron football match between the US Army and Navy 1963
Match of the Day first broadcast (featuring Liverpool v. Arsenal) Click for more information 22 August 1964
On–screen graphics (as opposed to information held up in front of the camera on cards) are used for the first time, in the USA 1965

© Haydn Thompson 2017