The New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers was the first widespread television broadcast of the World Series, representing a landmark moment for both the history of television and the sport of baseball.
Television had already been growing in the years prior to 1947, as General Electric’s experimental station in Schenectady had been broadcasting basic images via television waves for some time. Some of the airwaves had even reached as far away as Los Angeles, paving the way for nationally syndicated television shows. However, between newsreels and short television shows, many people did not have a reason to own a television set as they could simply access one at a public location such as a bar or a train station. With the World Series being broadcasted to the Northeast, the public was finally given a visual glimpse into a major sporting event rather than having to listen to the radio.
This World Series was also the first time that an integrated baseball team, the Dodgers with first black Major Leaguer Jackie Robinson, played in a World Series. The widespread exposure of the World Series also helped lead to further acceptance of non-white players into Major League Baseball.
Billboard reported that over 3.9 million people throughout the Northeast viewed the series, which was a monumental achievement for a technology that was still in its infancy. President Harry Truman, who would go on to make the first ever TV appearance from the Oval Office a few days later, remarked that he’d marveled at watching live baseball on television. New York would continue to be at the forefront of the television revolution, with CBS, NBC and ABC all having their flagship stations headquartered in New York City.
Today, professional sports in the United States enjoys billions of dollars in ad revenue due to their television exposure and massive deals between networks to broadcast championship events, such as NBC broadcasting the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs and NBC, FOX and CBS rotating coverage of the NFL’s Super Bowl. The initial exposure of the Yankees-Dodgers World Series helped to grow the passion for professional sports in the United States and began a new era in how Americans enjoy sports at home.