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First Pro Basketball Game Telecast 70 Years Ago

An early WLWT-TV camera
An early WLWT-TV camera

On this day 70 years ago: The first professional basketball game was televised in Cincinnati on W8XCT, Crosley Broadcasting's experimental TV station which became WLWT-TV in February 1948.

Crosley engineers were busy 70 years ago making sure that this new thing called "television" would work, so the company could launch the city's first TV station. They were more than a year ahead of the competition.

On Nov. 30, 1947, Crosley broadcast the Harlem Globetrotters playing the New York Celtics at Music Hall Arena, in the north wing of the concert hall. Following the Globetrotters, W8XCT telecast the St. Louis Brewers versus the Carlisle Indians, according to old WLWT-TV press releases.

In four months, W8XCT already had televised the first Reds game from Crosley Field; first college football game (UC-Dayton at Nippert Stadium); a variety show; a Cincinnati City Council political roundtable discussion; boxing and wrestling matches; bowling competition; a church service; and a Rookwood Pottery demonstration from Mount Adams.

Two weeks later, on Dec. 13, W8XCT televised the first college basketball games – UC vs UK, and Furman vs. Eastern Kentucky – from Music Hall Arena.

W8XCT became WLWT-TV on Feb. 9, 1948, the first day of commercial television operation in Cincinnati.

It would be more than a year before WKRC-TV signed on in April 1949, and WCPO-TV in July 1949.

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