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Original scientific paper

The imbalance of commentators’ discourse during a televized basketball match

Simon Ličen ; University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Sport, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Mojca Doupona Topič ; University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Sport, Ljubljana, Slovenia

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Sports reporters have journalistic duties and as a rule they should thus be objective. However, they often fail to comply with reporting standards and they become subjective. Such subjectivity can influence the spectator’s perception of events. In this pilot study, we analysed recorded broadcasts of a top-level basketball match aired by the national television broadcasters from the participating teams’ countries. We ascertained that half of all the remarks made by both commentators were facts. Approximately every fourth remark expressed an opinion, while every fifth remark was related to statistical data. Half of the commentators’ remarks related to the team perceived to be ours, 30% of the remarks related to the other team, 10% of the remarks related to the game time and score, while 10% of the remarks involved other comments. The commentators’ discourse was obviously imbalanced. During international competitions commentators evidently favour teams from their own country. Sports commentators thus hardly comply with journalistic standards. This, however, does not confirm the subjectivity of the commentators. Further research is needed to clarify this field and topics for future research are proposed.


media; sports commentator; sports broadcasts; reporter; play-by-play; analyst; pilot study

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