UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An analysis of sports coverage on Canadian television station websites Fan, Ying


Following the early days of the Internet and the World Wide Web, news media in Canada have gone on to develop their own news web sites with the intentions of meeting the on-line needs of media audiences, expanding their audience reach, and adding to revenue production and profitability on- and off-line. Web strategies have varied somewhat across the different media, but anecdotal evidence suggests that sports contents have been important for both print and television. This thesis focused on the latter, sports contents on television network websites, and was undertaken to evaluate how Canadian television stations are utilizing the Internet and web technologies to feature sports news and information. Only a few studies specific to sports television web sites have been done, and these have mainly focused on American news stations. The research objective of the thesis was to systematically examine the web presence of sports contents on Canadian television web sites by conducting a content analysis of identifiably unique sites in the Canadian context. A site analysis protocol was developed through an iterative process. An initial instrument was constructed drawing on past research in this area. In particular, prior work by Bates et al. (1996 & 1997), Pines (1999), Bucy, Lang, Potter & Grabe (1999), Sparks (2001) provided systematic measures for examiriirig the Web presence of television stations. Ha & James's definition of interactivity (1998) was also useful as was the work of Cho (1999), Rogers & Thorson (2000) on Internet advertising. The initial instrument was evaluated and modified during a series of trial scans. The final instrument focused on five areas: body of the home page, types of content, presentation mechanisms, interactivity and advertising. A systematic site analysis was conducted from August to October, 2003, and a total of twenty-one sports home pages were analyzed. Three web sites (TSN, Leafs TV and The Score) were found to have a good balance in the five areas evaluated in the study. The results of independent-samples t-tests showed that general television networks had more sports top news and hyperlinks to other news items than sport specialty networks. By comparison, sports specialty networks tended to have more sport-related search engines and greater efficiency of space. CBC's "Sports Forums" that were configured on its sports home page gave the public broadcaster the highest quotient for interactivity in comparison with the twenty private networks and stations in the study. Advertising was present in all of the sites, and the findings point to an increasing interest in the televisual and sport web site media in producing revenue through web-based advertising.

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