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Framing the 2007 National Basketball Association finals: An analysis of commentator discourse

Television broadcasters often exhibit bias in the reporting of sport events. Through framed discourse, networks embed multiple storylines to build and maintain audiences over the duration of an event. Research has typically focused on mega-events occurring every four years. This study, through content analysis of American Broadcast Company’s announcer discourse of a smaller annual event, the 2007 National Basketball Association finals series, found that the framing function of the media continued to be employed. Findings also revealed significant associations existed for play-by-play and colour commentary on the two competing teams that would serve to reinforce viewer beliefs. Commentary on the winning team emphasized skill, speed and creativity, whereas star players became the focus of the losing team. Sport marketers can gain practical utility for use of framing in broadcasts by providing commentators with prepared frames that could support viewer beliefs or expectations.