Pan American Games on television

ABC was the first American television network to broadcast the Pan American Games in 1963, when they devoted one episode of their Wide World of Sports[1] anthology program to the games. They doubled their coverage to two episodes of the show in 1967. CBS then bought the rights to the 1975[2] and 1979 Games[3][4] at the same time. Their coverage in 1975 was mainly shown on CBS Sports Spectacular, their equivalent to Wide World of Sports. CBS repeated the process of airing most of its coverage on CBS Sports Spectacular in 1979.

For the 1983 games, CBS[5] aired all of its coverage on weekend afternoons. These games also marked the first of three consecutive hosting assignments of Brent Musburger. CBS endured numerous obstacles[6] in the run up to the games, including missing video tape machines and mobile units, inexperienced technicians from several countries, a last minute disagreement with the host broadcaster that left CBS scrambling to add 5 more cameras to the 3 it planned to use at the opening ceremony, and more. In addition, when a large doping scandal[7] broke out at the games, including the sudden departure of 12 American athletes to avoid drug testing, Musburger made special reports on the scandal during the CBS Morning News and CBS Evening News,[8] as well as during the regularly scheduled coverage.

CBS[9][10][11] broadcast its fourth consecutive Pan American Games in 1987[12][13] and provided the host feed as well. This would be the last time that CBS would broadcast the games. Brent Musburger[14] as previously alluded to, returned as host.

In 1991, ABC[15][16] sought the rights[17] to the Pan Am Games in Havana.[18] The negotiations became bogged down in the U.S. embargo against Cuba,[19] which forbade direct payments to Cuba. After a protracted negotiation with the U.S. Justice Department,[20] ABC eventually signed a deal[21] to broadcast the games. The fee was paid[22] indirectly to avoid the embargo. ABC partnered[23] with Ted Turner's TNT[24][25][26][27] cable channel for the Havana games. TNT aired the prime time coverage with Ernie Johnson Jr. as host, while Brent Musburger[28] (who had been fired by CBS in March 1990) anchored ABC's weekend afternoon coverage. This would be the last time the games were broadcast by a major broadcast network in the United States. All coverage since has aired on cable or Spanish-language networks.

In the United States, ESPN and ESPN Deportes held the broadcasting rights for the Pan American Games through 2019.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Wide World of Sports Highlights -- 1960s".
  2. ^ Amdur, Neil (August 2, 1983). "TV SPORTS; PAN AM GAMES A BIG PROBLEM FOR CBS". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Pan American Games – 1979 – Swimming + Wrestling + Equestrian + Boxing + Sailing".
  4. ^ "The Spirit of Friendship Through Sports: Poster Images from the Pan-American Games, 1951-1999". LA84 FOUNDATION.
  5. ^ "CBS giving Pan Am Games four star coverage". August 13, 1983.
  6. ^ Hersh, Phil (August 24, 1987). "THE GAMES THAT CAME UP SHORT". Chicago Tribune.
  7. ^ Todd, Rosenke, Jan, Daniel L. (2016). "'The Event That Shook the Whole World Up': Historicizing the 1983 Pan-American Games Doping Scandal". The International Journal of the History of Sport. 33 (1–2): 164–185. doi:10.1080/09523367.2016.1152961. S2CID 146840442.
  8. ^ "PAN AMERICAN GAMES / DRUGS". The Vanderbilt Television News Archive. August 24, 1983.
  9. ^ Kidd, Torres, Bruce, Cesar (19 April 2018). Historicizing the Pan-American Games. Routledge. ISBN 9781315414270.
  10. ^ Indianapolis Monthly Sep 1997. Emmis Communications. September 1997. p. 145.
  11. ^ Harvey, Randy (August 24, 1987). "THE 1987 PAN AMERICAN GAMES : Analysis : What the Pan Am Organizers Lacked: Time and a World View". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ Sarni, Jim (August 22, 1987). "NBC BRASS TO PUT NAMATH THROUGH BOOTH CAMP". Sun Sentinel.
  13. ^ "THE 10THE PAN AMERICAN GAMES; Big Event With Disney Touch". The New York Times. August 2, 1987.
  14. ^ Szul, Barbara (August 8, 1987). "The 10th Pan Am Games kick off..." Chicago Tribune.
  15. ^ Sandomir, Richard (June 23, 1991). "TV SPORTS: PAN AMERICAN GAMES; Technology Hits Cuba, By Land, Sea and U.S." The New York Times.
  16. ^ Nidetz, Steve (August 2, 1991). "ABC GEARS UP FOR PAN AM GAMES". Chicago Tribune.
  17. ^ "ABC obtains TV rights to '91 Pan..." The Baltimore Sun. December 4, 1990.
  18. ^ "AIM Report - September A 1991". Accuracy in Media.
  19. ^ Robb, Sharon (June 22, 1990). "Making sacrifices cuba gets ready for the pan american games". South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
  20. ^ "MISCELLANEOUS ABC WINS BID TO TELEVISE PAN AM GAMES IN HAVANA". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. May 17, 1989.
  21. ^ "THE SIDELINES : Pan Am Games TV Suit Settled". Los Angeles Times. December 13, 1990.
  22. ^ Pettavino, Pye, Paula J., Geralyn (15 September 1994). Sport in Cuba: The Diamond in the Rough. p. 221. ISBN 9780822974598.
  23. ^ Isaacs, Stan (August 17, 1991). "BOXING FANS TASTE CHOCOLATE". Sun Sentinel.
  24. ^ "ABC, TNT GET NO MEDALS FOR PAN AM COVERAGE". August 6, 1991.
  25. ^ "Games Aren't Losing Money for Turner". Los Angeles Times. August 16, 1991.
  26. ^ "WHO IS THIS HUBIE BROWN? WHAT HAPPENED WITH SENNA?". The Morning Call. May 22, 1994.
  27. ^ Sandomir, Richard (August 2, 1991). "TV SPORTS; Valvano in Havana, With Regret". The New York Times.
  28. ^ Luna, Richard (June 18, 1991). "ABC announces Pan Am Games coverage". UPI.

External linksEdit