Fans and sports-media watchdogs have criticized national sports networks for demonstrating preferential treatment toward East Coast teams. In particular, critics argue that news and highlight programs display preferential treatment toward eastern teams. This study examined the most popular network sportscasts to determine if regional and market bias exists. Mirroring a methodological framework that was previously used in the study of geographic bias in network news, a quantitative content analysis was conducted of same-day highlight packages on the flagship programs of the two most prominent sports cable networks, ESPN's SportsCenter and Fox Sports' FOX Sports Live. Research indicated that sports networks demonstrate geographic bias in their news and highlight shows, most notably in the length and depth of stories involving teams from regions other than the western United States. Conversely, West Coast teams consistently were given less attention by networks across all variables. Additionally, sports networks show preference toward teams from larger markets.


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pp. 99-121
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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