Citation Haynes R (1999) 'There's many a slip 'twixt the eye and the lip': An exploratory history of football broadcasts and running commentaries on BBC radio, 1927-1939. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 34 (2), pp. 143-155. https://doi.org/10.1177/101269099034002004
Abstract Football has long formed an essential ingredient of the BBC's public service remit. This study investigates the origins of this relationship in radio in order to reveal some of the formative struggles in the BBC's desire to provide outside broadcasts from the game. Drawing upon empirical evidence from the BBC's promotional material and the press from 1927-39, the article analyses issues of broadcasting rights, access and exclusivity. Taking the 1930 Cup Final radio broadcast as a case study, the article critically analyses the BBC's public service rhetoric in an economic and cultural battle with the Football Association. The article also investigates how running commentaries drew upon this public service ethos, and developed codes and practices that allowed its first practitioners to address the BBC's imagined national audience, predominantly occupied by men. It is concluded that this public service tradition of football commentary continues to pervade contemporary discourses on the game. However, these practices are increasingly under pressure by contemporary transformations in the market for television sports rights and delivery through digital technologies and pay per view.
Journal International Review for the Sociology of Sport: Volume 34, Issue 2