ESPN’s Ability to Get Fans ‘Inside Sports’: A Framing Analysis of College Gameday
Date of Award
Master of Science
Dennie Kelley, Lars Dzikus
College Gameday is important and well-watched. It invents the perception of college football. It frames college football using four dominant themes—nostalgia, masculine identity, militarism and sports-as-corporation. All of these lead to its popularity and the reinforcement of ideas about college football. This study analyzes six episodes of ESPN’s College Gameday, which originally aired in the fall of 2006. The research questions are 1) based on Nauright’s work, how does College Gameday frame football in terms of nostalgia, national identity and masculine identity; 2) are there frames present that have not been identified by Nauright.
College Gameday frames college football in terms of nostalgia by placing special emphasis on school rivalries, traditions, and general atmosphere. The traits of national identity are militarism and corporate capitalism, as defined in this research. Therefore, College Gameday frames college football in terms of militarism by using “sports-as-war” references. These include words such as trenches, bomb, attack and invade.
Sports-as-corporation, a new frame identified in this analysis, is used to shape perception of football by comparing the game to the business world. Players are compared to stocks, references are made to business deals, and the job specialization of players and coaches are emphasized. This new frame is significant because it provides an avenue for future research. Further framing analysis should be conducted to confirm and advance this “sports-as-corporation” frame.
The masculine identity frame is most often utilized. Players are labeled “heroes.” Their achievements are emphasized, and they are attributed with having ideal traits in character and physical aptitude. Players and coaches are criticized when their performance is deemed poor or when behavior in regard to character becomes an issue.
The research questions are based on Nauright’s (1996) review article, which examines sports history books along with academic literature in an effort to determine football’s historical cultural significance. His findings identify several themes which include nostalgia, community identity, national consciousness and masculinity.
Lovette, Melissa, "ESPN’s Ability to Get Fans ‘Inside Sports’: A Framing Analysis of College Gameday. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 2007.