ONLY YOU, ROONE ARLEDGE
Congratulations to SI, Roone Arledge and Gilbert Rogin on the perspicuous article, It's Sport, It's Money, It's TV (April 25). Television has had a staggering impact on sports, and it's time the relationship of the two was placed in perspective. More discussion on this subject would certainly be advantageous to both "industries."
St. Petersburg, Fla.
In his analysis of sports on television, Roone Arledge outlines certain characteristics that make a sport desirable to televise: 1) a pace and rhythm that create action or, at least an aura of anticipation; 2) a larger-than-life physical quality that can be conveyed to the viewer by use of the closeup; and 3) a structure to the event that provides time-outs or breaks to get the commercials in. I submit that he has given us a fine definition of boxing. Has he thought of bringing this sport back to us?
Thank you for giving us Roone Arledge's view of sports and TV, but I hope he will take a closer look at hockey. A spectator's attention is held longer by something difficult and penetrating than by something easy, so long as the tension is relieved in the end. Hockey fans won't take their eyes off the game for fear of missing the rare scoring play. This is the release they have been waiting for. If TV should change the game to include five-man teams and 10-8 scores, as Arledge suggests, viewers would turn on the set only for the last five minutes of the game, as so many, myself included, now do with basketball.
JOHN R. PACKARD
Roone Arledge says, "Golf is a great game for television." Golf is a great game to play on sunny weekends and watch on television on rainy days.
Arledge says, "Some sports are overexposed if you see them twice a year." Golf is being overexposed when you see it on TV Saturday and Sunday, all year long.
Arledge says, "We started all this, I'm sorry to say." It's too late to be sorry. So many golf balls have been bogeyed through my picture tube, the set is dead—thank goodness.
RUSSELL D. CHEDISTER
Merritt Island, Fla.
THE EVIL EYE
Your concern over the purchase of the New York Yankees by CBS, as expressed in your LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER (April 25), may be justified, but I feel that your objections are based on the wrong reasons.
It seems clear to me that CBS has every right in the world to have a financial interest in baseball. In the first place, it's obvious that baseball can no longer be considered purely as a sport. Baseball is business. Big business. Baseball is also a legitimate entertainment function of television, and I believe that CBS has a right to be involved in the presentation of such entertainment material, even in an ownership capacity.
As for conflict of interest, you seem to be forgetting the fact that the Yankees are only one of 20 teams in major league baseball, all of which compete in a most direct way.
What does concern me is the gradual removal of baseball men from the management of the sport. The Wrigleys, Yawkeys and Griffiths have not always been the most generous of leaders, but it has been clear that their interest in baseball has been motivated by something more than profit. The shift in management to corporation and group ownership has hurt baseball. In other words, the dangerous precedent inherent in CBS ownership of the Yankees is not ownership by television as such, but ownership by anyone whose paramount interest is larger or smaller than the best interests of baseball.
New Bedford, Mass.