Friday, May 28, 2010

ESPN: Who do you think you are...NBC?

When Tennis Channel coverage ended in the U.S. today, at 11:00 a.m. my time, "coverage" was picked up by ESPN2. Except ESPN showed only matches that had already been played. This was beyond infuriating. Fortunately, there was live coverage online at, and at ESPN3 (formerly ESPN 360), although ESPN3 did not show the Dementieva match, which was on the schedule.

I was able to see some good matches in spite of ESPN, but no one showed the Rezai-Petrova match. (I'm sure Direct TV did, but I don't have it.) There it was, a thriller by anyone's standards, and on U.S. cable television, it didn't exist.

At first, when I saw Serena Williams on ESPN, I thought "oh, there they go again--assuming that all we want to see are matches with U.S. players in them." But ESPN went on to show replays of all kinds of matches--just nothing live.


Todd Spiker said...

I believe, at one time, there were three three-set matches -- Dementieva/Wozniak, Kuznetsova/Kirilenko & Petrova/Rezai -- all going on simultaneously while ESPN2 was showing one or two of the straight sets wins from the bigger names eight or nine hours earlier.

The funny thing is that all morning Tennis Channel had actually promoted ESPN2's coverage for later in the day, saying the network would have "continuously live coverage."

Sadly, today's debacle will probably end up seeming to be a harmless little programming decision by the time NBC gets done with this tournament, though. Hardly anything escapes the black hole that is the "NBC Zone." :)

Sunny MS said...

Well, I tried and when I hit the button "low quality", the screen just kept saying "connecting" on and on. (any suggestions-I wrote them twice and they never answered-checked all the FAQs). My carrier doesn't deal with ESPN3 and my cable provider doesn't do the TV TennisChannel. So I am stuck with ESPN2. And I saw V. Williams' match almost completely twice. I was surprised that on a day that some interesting matches were going on live when ESPN2 started broadcasting that we were seeing taped. They could have saved the taped for when nothing was happening live. Well this weekend should be fun-NBC!

Todd Spiker said...

Oh, here's what'll happen on NBC: rather than simply repeat matches that have already been aired instead of showing live ones, NBC's match embargo rules will prevent most of those matches from being shown at all earlier, and THEN they'll show them rather than more exciting ones going on at the same time.

Pure NBC logic.

Sunny MS said...

Todd, you are so right!

Tim OBrien said...

The word for ESPN's coverage is:
It is absolutely disheartening for anyone who is interested in possibly watching a great LIVE tennis match. Can you imagine them doing this with the NFL or NBA?
I will badmouth ESPN every chance I get. They have forgotten what IT is all about.

Jen said...

It's discouraging for sure. I wonder -- will some channel even cover Henin-Sharapova live Saturday?? That should take place around 3pm EDT, right? (It's the last match of the evening on Philippe Chatrier, after what could be a long Nadal-Hewitt encounter.) Crossing my fingers, but not overly optimistic.

Diane said...


I don't know why you're having trouble connecting to video. I don't know what's in the FAQs, but the first things I always think of are:
What browsers does it support, is cache cleared, and are your Java and Flash up to date? But if you cannot connect at all--that sounds like an ISP problem.