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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Hoop Streams: The Rise of the NBA, Multiplatform Television, and Sports as Media Content, 1982 to 2015

  • Author(s): Secular, Steven
  • Advisor(s): Holt, Jennifer
  • et al.

Hoop Streams seeks to examine the mediatization and marketization of sport since the 1980s, by charting the evolution of the National Basketball Association from a small-time administrative organization into a multi-faceted global media empire. The NBA illuminates the transformation of sport into multiplatform media content and sports leagues into modern media conglomerates. In order to obtain the fullest possible accounting of the NBA’s history and decision-making, Hoop Streams draws on archival news sources and original interviews. Where possible, the dissertation also uses telecasts and promotional materials to illustrate the application of the league’s various media strategies. Ultimately, the NBA’s evolution reflects the ongoing commercialization of culture, as reciprocal cross-cultural flows are increasingly leveraged in service of greater profits. The transnational expansion and vertical integration of the NBA thus reflects historical shifts within the media industries, as the league capitalizes on the media strategies of larger conglomerates in Disney and Time Warner. Eventually, the NBA comes to privilege an inclusive internationalism over its status as an American pastime. This strategy is encouraged by the emergence of a streaming media environment, which allows for a more global and simultaneous address than ever before. Similarly to Netflix and HBO, the NBA demonstrates the drive for media content that can reach a maximum number of countries within a single platform. Hoop Streams thus helps to establish and survey a global and integrated sports-media industry.

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