Hmm, I wonder if a flood of emails had anything to do with this . . .
"We're trying to paint the most dramatic story of the matches that are of most interest to American fans in the window that will reach the most viewers," DeLuca told Tennis Week. "The bottom line is what we're trying to do is show the tennis players most interesting to the American audience and show most of their action to try to maximize the tennis fans' enjoyment of the French Open as well as maximize our audience. And as we've done in the past, most notably with Andy Roddick's Australian Open quarterfinal win over Younes El Aynaoui, we will go live when there is a dramatic match or story to be told. Our advantage as a sport network is we can do that."
So American fan = fan who likes Americans? I don't think so.
The situation with the Australian Open is different. Australia is almost 24 hours ahead of the US's time zones, so of course everything's on tape delay. But Paris is not as far away so it's ridiculous to give that as an excuse. I can pretty much tell you that the only people willing to get up at five oclock in the fucking morning to watch tennis are more than casual fans.
Also, does anyone remember last year, when play was washed out for a whole day and the men's quarterfinals, I believe it was, were shown live? That was at 5 am EST time. ESPN came on the air to show live tennis from Paris, time damned. Suddenly they can't do that anymore?
Asked why the network didn't pick up the live feed of some late-round matches and then rebroadcast them in their entirety later in the day, DeLuca said simultaneous action on adjacent courts forces a programming decision.
"It's not unlike covering the Olympics in Europe," DeLuca said. "In the Olympics you'll see events on tape delay when more than one important event is going on simultaneously. Similarly what we're trying to do is build to the best moment and when we can give our viewers the best moment live we've done so in many cases. We telecast (the fourth round match between) Costa and Clement live and then Kuerten and Robredo took us off the air. They were happening simultaneously on different courts so in order to best serve the viewer we showed one live and went to the other match afterward."
That's a load of horseshit and he knows it. THAT'S the day they promised to show Ferrero-Mantilla then didn't. The Costa-Clement match was boring as hell and sucked up over half the coverage time alloted.
"There are no formulas, the key is what is in the best interest of the tennis viewers," DeLuca said. "Yes, fans can go get a score off the Internet, but we think the American tennis fans are intelligent enough to want to see these matches as well as some of the outstanding features our production team has produced. This is nothing new. It is the same way tennis and the Olympics have been covered in the past."
"outstanding features our production team has produced"?! Listen, jerk, we don't give a rat's ass how you show the tennis, we just want to see the damn match.
When Roland Garros ends, ESPN will move on to London to begin preparations for its Wimbledon coverage. ESPN and ESPN2 will offer nearly 120 original hours of programming of the 2003 Wimbledon Championships — the most dedicated to the event by any American network in history. Coverage will be highlighted by one men's and one women's semifinal match.
The addition of Wimbledon means ESPN, for the first time, will telecast three of the four Grand Slam events. In 2003, ESPN will program more than 500 hours of tennis coverage (an increase of 18 percent over 2002 and 45 percent over 2001).
God help us all.