This article examines the history of Australian broadcast television through the lens of sports programming. Ever since the introduction of the medium in Australia just before the 1956 Olympic Games, sports programming - both event coverage and sports-related content - has played a major role in defining television's forms, concerns and technologies, as well as in developing audiences for services and channels. Looking at a series of pivotal moments in Australian television history - the 1956 Olympics, the coming of colour, aggregation in the late 1980s, the launch of subscription television in 1995 and commercial free-to-air multi-channelling - the article examines sports programming as a site of both competition and collaboration between networks and services. It also discusses the role of sports in shaping the schedules and profiles of the two Australian public service broadcasters, before concluding with a look at the possible future of sport and Australian broadcast television.
Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy: quarterly journal of media research and resources / No. 155, pp.70-79