Sports and media are inter-related. Though sports and media are two different entity in terms of scope, operation, etc. they have been found to be complimenting each other. The rise of 'sports only' channels or to be more specific, advent of 'separate channel for separate sports' can be taken as instances of sports and media working and growing together. Even in general TV channels sports activities and news are given high importance. The importance given to sports coverage is because of high number of viewers that sports events fetch which the TV stations can convert into money while dealing with advertisers. This is how, sports through media and media through sports are helping each other to foster.
Two prior works have been found to be done in the topic- "Sports in Nepali Television" till now, both by Raju Silwal. In one of his works1, Silwal has studied sports coverage of Nepal Television only. While the other2 one has studied all television channels in operation at the time of research., including Nepal TV.
In the following article, coverage of sports in Nepali TV has been studied. For the research, sports programs of Nepal Television, NTV 2, Kantipur Television, Image Channel, Avenues Television, Nepal One Television, Sagarmatha Television, ABC Televison, Channel Nepal were studied. As the research is of ex-post facto type, this paper will only outline the prevailing situation and condition of sports journalism in Nepal. In the paper, 'channel' and 'station' have been used with the same meaning.
A baseball match between two American colleges, Princeton and Columbia, was the first sports related broadcasting in the television history. While, Scott Sports is considered the oldest sports program. It is still in run from 1957 A.D. in Scottish Television of Scotland (Silwal, 2065).
Incase of Nepal, sports news got space in newspapers since the publishing of Gorkhapatra itself in 1901 A.D. But, it is only after 1951 sports news were covered regularly.
First sports news was broadcasted by Nepal Television, seven days after the regular transmission of NTV has started3. The news was related to a football match played on the occasion of birthday of King Birendra. Although a television news, there were no visuals to read over. The reporter and the reader of the news was Rama Singh (Silwal, 2062).
Three dozens of television stations are registered in Nepal. Out of which, a dozen are in operation. Among the stations in operation none are 'sports only' channels. Share of news channels and general channels is almost equal and every channel has allocated certain time for sports news and programs. In sports news and program- results of national and international matches, rules of different games, players' introduction, problems being faced by players etc are covered. Thus, with rise in coverage of sports in television, sports journalists are also in rise (Silwal, 2065).
In the following portion, coverage of sports in Nepal TV, NTV 2, Kantipur TV, Image TV, Channel Nepal, Nepal 1, Aveneus TV, Sagarmatha TV, ABC TV has been discussed.
Nepal TV started broadcasting sports related news since its inception. It has been regularly live broadcasting world cup football since 1986 A.D. Opening-Closing ceremonies and important events of Olympic, Asian Games, South Asian Games are also featured. In 2044 B.S., Nepal TV for the first time live broadcasted a volleyball match by itself and for itself.
Nepal TV in past had broadcasted many sports related programs like- 'Khelkud Karyakram', 'Khel-Khel', 'Gillettee World Sports Special'. But, now it has limited it's sports coverage to sports news only. The sports news also is buried inside a long news bulletin mostly featuring political news. Sports journalists involved with Nepal TV are Madan Acharya, Devendra Subedi, Shyam Chitrakar and Sanjeev Shilpakar.
NTV- 2 has three programs related to sports in it's weekly schedule. One is 'Sports World' run by Sanjeeb Shilpakar. Visuals received from 'Sports News TV' are used in the program which is of 30 minutes. The remaining two programs are 'Sports Genius' and 'Khelkud Gatibidhi'. Sports Genius is quiz and in Khelkud Gatibidhi national sports are covered, randomly. There are two sports journalists involved, Sanjeev Shilpakar and Shyam Chitrakar.
Besides incorporating sports news in it's news bulletin, Kantipur TV also has a weekly program named 'Scoreboard' which is solely related to sports. Kantipur TV sometimes live broadcast games of national level as well. Live telecast of a cricket match played in Kritipur cricket ground is one example. Sudin Pokharel and Nabin Katiwada are the sports journalists involved with Kantipur TV.
Channel Nepal covers sports news in it's news bulletin but doesn't have any separate program only for sports. Shantiram Karki is the sports journalist involved with the channel.
Sports news is made compulsory in all of the news bulletin of Image Channel. Beside the news, a weekly program 'Khel' is also broadcasted which is primarily related to sports. Som Pokharel and Niranjan Adhikari are the sports journalists working for Image Channel.
Nepal One Television:
Nepal One TV has no special program related to sports. Sports news is not even mandatory in news bulletin. But it is found giving wide coverage to international cricket sometimes, specially when India is involved. Jayanta Regmi is the sports journalist working with Nepal One TV.
Sports news is made compulsory in all of the news bulletin of Avenues TV. Beside the news, two programs 'Sports Arena' and 'Avenues @ Sports' is also broadcasted which is related to sports. Avenues @ Sports is a daily program while Sports Arena is a weekly program. This TV also has a sports bureau which has 5 members including three Sports journalists viz, Sarita Shrestha, Suraj Tamrakar and Subhas Subedi.
Though, sports news are not mandatory in every news bulletin of Sagarmatha TV, news bulletin of 7 pm, 9 pm and 11 pm each are allocated separate section for sports news. A program named 'Sagarmatha Sports' is also broadcasted twice a week with the involvement of Radheshyam Dahal and Pavitra Rawat.
ABC TV broadcast sports news with priority in each of it's news bulletin. It is also found to have used sports news as main headline sometimes. Beside this, ABC Umpire- a daily sports program is also broadcasted except on Friday.
From the data and discussion above we can say say that- Nepalese TV by now has already acknowledged the importance of sports coverage. The fact that very station has allocated certain time and space for sports verifies the acknowledgement. But, the present scenario hints that Nepalese TV stations need to prioritize sports beat in terms money and investment as well as mobilizing expertise available in the field.
There are several room to improve for Nepalese TV. Visual weakness is one of the visible shortcomings, where as available sports coverage is found to confined within the urban boundary. Lack of in depth and investigative reporting as well as follow-up are another issues to address. Also, the sports beat is in severe need of qualified and interested journalists. Similarly, in this global trend the practice of limiting sports coverage only to football, cricket, tennis and golf do not seems to catch up the growing interest of 'global citizen'.
Adhikary, N.M. (2008a). Communication, media and journalism: An integrated study. Kathmandu: Prashanti Prakashan.
सिलवाल, राजु (२०६२)। नेपाल टेलिभिजनको खेलकुद समाचारसम्बन्धी विश्लेषणात्मक अध्ययन । स्नातकोत्तर तहको शोधपत्र, पत्रकारिता, त्रिभुवन विश्वविद्यालय।
सिलवाल, राजु (२०६५)। नेपाली टिलिभिजनमा खेलकुद। नेपाली टिलिभिजन: अभ्यास, अनुभूति र विश्लेषण। काठमाडौं: मार्टिन चौतारी।