Roone Arledge, the man who changed the face of television sports coverage


Whistlemag pays tribute to one of the game changers in Sports on his birthday. 

Roone Pinckney Arledge Jr. was a pioneering sports broadcasting executive and was the president of ABC News. He changed the face of television sports coverage by airing shows especially, ‘Wide World of Sports’, one of the most popular sports series ever in the early 1960s.

Arledge expanded Olympics broadcasts beyond the competition by including personal profiles of athletes, a style still echoed today and also created a  model for the Olympic television extravaganza. The list of his contributions to television sports coverage was many. He was credited with bringing modern production techniques to sports coverage such as slow-motion replay, aerial footage, freeze-frame views, instant replays, split-screen views, handheld cameras and the placement of microphones to bring the original sound of the game into living rooms.
Arledge also introduced isolated cameras aimed to thrill audiences and get them emotionally involved in the broadcast. He was the first to demand that networks, not sports leagues, approve announcers.

He changed the viewing habits of America by initiating ‘Monday Night Football‘ a live television broadcasting of weekly National Football League (NFL) games. It was one of the longest-running primetime programmes even on commercial network television. Roone was the only television executive of his time who would have dared to put sports in prime time.

He died on December 5, 2002. Even years after his death, the philosophy of Roone Arledge continues to define sports programming.

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