Document Type

Theses, Masters


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Sucessfully submitted for the award of Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) to the Technological University Dublin in November, 1998.


This thesis seeks to explore the critical importance which televised sport will play within the paradigm of the continuing evolution of broadcasting in Western Europe. The arguments and issues which arise are situated within the context of cut-throat competition for sports rights between traditional terrestrial broadcasters and pay TV organisations in what is increasingly becoming a fragmented television market-place. The thesis which utilises developments in the United Kingdom and Ireland as its model plots the technical, financial and institutional issues which have surfaced regarding televised sport over the past sixty years. As such, the motivations behind the purchase of sports rights, the strategy of targeting audiences, the growth of pay TV, the escalation of costs relating to sports rights acquisitions, and the role played by legislation in the television sport equation, all receive due attention. One of the primary objectives of the thesis is to explore empirically the transformation of television markets for sport. As such, weekly TV ratings have been employed so as to measure and articulate the extent to which programming output and audience patronage for sport on each available channel have changed in recent years. Armed with this information, the thesis concludes with a critique of televised sport in the digital age. As digital TV services unfold and established television markets experience further fragmentation, the strategies behind the roll-out of pay-per-view, the implications of continuing hyper-inflation in the market for sports rights and the legislative dilemmas which media regulators will increasingly face are all discussed and analysed in equal measure.