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Broadcast Firsts

Sports - In 1979 ESPN, a total sports network, makes its debut on cable. It becomes the largest and most successful basic cable channel, carried by virtually every cable system, and reaches more than 57 million households.

The first sporting event ever televised in the United States (a one camera setup) was a college baseball game between Columbia University and Princeton on May 17, 1939 at Baker Field in New York City broadcast by station W2XBS. The announcer for the game was Bill Stern.

(Baseball) The first major league baseball game televised in the United States was a doubleheader from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn between the Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds on August 26, 1939. It was broadcast over station W2XBS using a two-camera setup. The game announcer was Red Barber.

Another source claimed that the first televised baseball game was from the same Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn, however, the featured game was between the Dodgers and the Phillies played 2:30 P.M. on July 1, 1941. Ray Forrest did the play-by-play of the game. 4000 TV sets viewed the event.

The first "color" broadcast of a major league game occurred on August 11, 1951 during a National League doubleheader at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Braves. Each team took a game a piece. The Dodgers the first, 81 and the Braves the second, 84. Announcers for the game were Walter Ranier (Red) Barber and Connie Desmond.

The first World Series broadcast was televised on September 30, 1947 on the NBC network. The New York Yankees (American League) played against the Brooklyn Dodgers (National League) at the Yankee Stadium. Yankees won the series 4 games to 3. The event, sponsored by the Ford Motor Company and Gillette Safety Razor Company, was transmitted via stations WABD, WCBS, and WNBT. Series announcers were Bob Edge, Bill Slater and Bob Stanton.

On September 28, 1955 NBC telecast the first "color" World Series game. The New York Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 6 to 5 at Yankee Stadium. It was broadcast over WRCA-TV.

The first World Series "night" game was telecast on NBC on October 13, 1971. (Basketball) The first televised basketball game was broadcast February 28, 1940 from Madison Square Garden in New York City by station W2XBS. The event featured Fordham University against the University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh won 5037. Following that game the team efforts of Georgetown University vs. New York University were televised. NYU won 50-27.

(Bicycling) The first telecast of a bicycle race was broadcast by the National Broadcasting Company from May 15th through May 21st, 1939. The six-day race featured twelve teams, eight of which finished the 2,388 miles event. Yankee baseball player, Joe DiMaggio fired the starting gun. Bicyclists William and Doug Peden won the race with a score of 1498 points.

(Boxing) The first televised boxing prizefight match featured Max Baer (father of Max Baer, Jr. of THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES/CBS/1962-71) vs. Lou Nova. It was broadcast from Yankee Stadium on June 1, 1939 by station WNBT-TV. The bout was stopped in the eleventh round by referee Frank Fullam in favor of Lou Nova. The event was announced by Sam Taub.

The first "Heavyweight Championship" fight was telecast (via coaxial cable) on June 19, 1946 from Yankee Stadium by station WNBT-TV, New York City to an audience of 150,000 watching 5,000 sets (on average, 30 people watching per set). Sponsored by NBC and Gillette, the match featured Joe Louis vs. Billy Conn. During the eighth round Joe Louis won by a knockout.

The first televised death in a boxing ring was telecast March 17, 1962 when Benny "Kid" Paret died at the hands of Emile Griffith in a Madison Square Garden Boxing match covered on ABC's FIGHT OF THE WEEK. Special rerun equipment replayed the boxer's death blow over and over for a nation of viewers.

In November, 1982 Ray "Boom, Boom" Mancini killed South Korean boxer Duk Koo Kim on a nationally televised championship fight. When Sugar Ray Robinson appeared before a board investigating the death of Jimmy Doyle in 1947, he was asked if he knew he had the man in serious trouble. "They pay me to get them in trouble" Robinson answered. (Sports Illustrated 11/22/1982).

(Football) The first televised college football game was Fordham vs. Waynesburg on September 30, 1939 at Triboro Stadium on Randalls Island in New York. Fordham won 34 to 7. It was televised by station W2XBS. Bill Stern was the announcer. Another source listed the Army/Navy Game in 1945 as the first televised college game. It was on a four city hookup over the NBC network.

The first televised "professional" football game was broadcast on October 22, 1939 from Ebbets field in Brooklyn, New York. It featured the Brooklyn Dodgers against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Dodgers won 24-14. The event was telecast by station W2XBS. The first televised National Football League Championship game was broadcast on the Dumont Network on December 23, 1951.

The first televised Super Bowl featured the Green Bay Packers (sponsored by the Green Bay Packing, Company) vs. the Kansas City Chiefs on January 15, 1967. It was carried on both the NBC and CBS network and was among the highest rated single programs in the history of television. The Packers defeated the Chiefs 35 to 10. Beginning with the second Super Bowl, the NBC and CBS networks took turns each season televising the game.

(Hockey) The first televised hockey game was between the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadians at Madison Square Garden on February 25, 1940. The Rangers won 6 to 2. Televised by station W2XBS in New York City.

(Horse Racing) The first live coverage of the Kentucky Derby horse race was on May 3, 1952 broadcast on the CBS Network.

The first "color" sports event was the $15,000 Molly Pitcher Handicap held July 14, 1951 at the Monmouth Park Jockey Club in Oceanport, New Jersey. Jockey Conn McMeary raced his horse Marta down the mile and one sixteenth track to victory.

(Tennis) The first tennis tournament to be televised was the Eastern Grass Court championship matches held at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York on August 9, 1939. It was televised by New York City station W2XBS.

The Davis Cup match on August 26, 1955 at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, New York was the first "color" broadcast of a tennis tournament. The match was between Australia and the United States and was televised by WNBT, a National Broadcasting Company affiliate.

(Track) The first televised track meet (intercollegiate) was held on March 2, 1940 at Madison Square Garden, New York City. This was the 19th annual intercollegiate A.A.A.A. track and field championship meet. New York University won with 27 points. It was televised by station W2XBS.


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