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ThreeDT
Aug 25th, 2007, 03:08 PM
For a sport which promotes gender-equality internationally and a nation rich in its history, there’s a major problem which lies in between which stems from a very powerful medium. Tennis broadcasting in Australia is undergoing vast changes to programming schedules and has been for about 18 months. Now concerned predominantly with the Men’s game, what will be next? Who is to blame? Will conditional broadcasting of Women’s tennis cease in the near future or will more gender-based boundaries be imposed?

Not all Australian media are executing these negative effects fans. In fact, quite the opposite regarding commercial TV station ‘The Seven Network’ and governing body ‘Tennis Australia’. The Seven Network has the best Tennis commentators and presenters in the country bar none and their tradition has been a healthy one. For a few weeks every year when Summer, Christmas and New Year come around in Australia, Australians are accustomed to seeing tennis matches on television. Thankfully, this hasn’t changed much over the decades. Today The Seven Network broadcasts matches from Perth, The Gold Coast, Adelaide, Sydney and Kooyong leading up to the Australian Open as well as Davis Cup. It’s a great time for tennis fans down under and it’s the only time. The public’s conception of Federation Cup is extremely poor – It’s never been shown in this country.

Unfortunately, the remainder of the year has become an unjustifiable mess. Like many other countries, Australia gets commercial coverage of most Grand Slam Tournaments (excluding Roland Garros). This is where Pay-TV networks come into the picture. They cover all the Grand Slams, Davis Cup and ATP Masters series events.

2 years ago, Pay-TV tennis broadcasting in Australia seemed fine. You could wake up early in the morning to see the Miami final LIVE or various other women’s matches from around the globe shown somewhat sporadically, but at least they were shown. I have since tried writing to ‘Fox Sports’ about this and have not received a reply in any form.

Australian Open 2007 - If a 3 second delay in a so called “LIVE Telecast” is not enough, how about some B grade commentary on Yuri Sharapov’s toilet habbit, detractions from Serena Williams during her victorious moment or some horrendous predictions from people you’ve never heard of before? They claim to have played tennis professionally and may know something about the game but their day jobs are the only answer. One positive viewers can take from this experience is that The Fox Sports Network is comprised of three numbered channels allowing viewers to surf different matches at the same time or choose from three matches to watch throughout the day.

In July 2007 (only a matter of weeks ago) Australia was relegated after Fed Cup loss to Ukraine. Women’s Tennis in Australia all of a sudden had gained exposure in gigantic proportions by this network. The sport went from no coverage to massive scrutiny overnight and it was their lead story for nearly a week accompanying headlines “Women’s tennis in the country hits rock bottom” and “Women’s tennis in Australia at it’s lowest point”. Match highlights went to air for days and some verbal fireworks between opposing players were made very public.

Effectively, what Australians now have to do to watch women’s tennis matches abroad is hope that a Women’s tournament is played in conjunction with an ATP Masters Series event. Even then, many more rounds of the Men’s side will be telecast leaving room only for Women’s semi-finals at best. When fans take a look at the tournament calendar this scenario is like a needle in a haystack, literally. We have twice as many women top 100 players than men yet their sport gets considerebly less than half the Pay TV coverage.

Everyone likes watching Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer battle out a final. It’s one of the great rivalries involving possibly the greatest player of all time, but please do not use or buy this excuse because there are none. One can only hope this downward spiral ends sooner rather than later. 18 months of it has already done enough damage.

ThreeDT
Aug 25th, 2007, 04:27 PM
Any other votes please? :) I’m sorry if it’s too long to read (I'm having it spell checked then published) but I’m very angry and confused about this matter. :fiery:

Thanks to those who voted, and if you vote "other" feel free to explain. Thanks again.

shirgan
Aug 25th, 2007, 07:14 PM
What sparked this now?I think this has been going on for years, no?

Max565
Aug 25th, 2007, 07:26 PM
It's always been like this. There will always be sexism in sports.

ThreeDT
Aug 26th, 2007, 03:07 AM
What sparked this now?I think this has been going on for years, no?
It may have been going on for years in your country, and has been in Australia for a long time too. That is a good valid point. My response is, it is worse now than ever before!

If this has been happening for decades, why is it getting worse every year? Most Australians don’t even know who is the top 10 Women today, because they only watch the top 150 men play on television.

Alizé Molik
Aug 26th, 2007, 03:16 AM
Actually, the fed cup was broadcast on ABC digital - I watched it...

and what is more annoying is that Fox didn't even bother to negotiate that contract for the WTA matches, it just ended and they didn't care, which is pretty stupid.

switz
Aug 26th, 2007, 03:22 AM
women's tennis is not packaged well like the atp masters series is. they cannot generated the sponsor dollars on pay tv to justify paying for the rights to show tournaments and the simple fact is that women's tennis does not attract viewers like men's does. The Hewitt vs Safin Aus Open final is still the highest rating program on Australian television since the Sydney Olympics and every men's final since has been in the top 30 for the same period. The women's finals don't even make the list.

I think you're also massively overselling channel 7s coverage of women's tennis. They buy the rights the summer of tennis and then only show the Gold Coast final with not even a highlights package during the week. During the Sydney tournament they prioritise the exhibition men's tournament in Melbourne above any women's matches. And during the Australian the likes of Federer, Nadal, Hewitt and Roddick are promoted much more heavily and always shown over potentially more competitive women's matches.

The key point is that Australia hasn't produced a female player worthy of mass market attention in the past 30 years and therefore it's natural that the standing of the women's game has been diminished. There are simply commercial realities in the tv business and it's not always just an open and shut case of sexism.

The Kaz
Aug 26th, 2007, 03:30 AM
When Alicia was in the top 10...her AO matches were shown exclusively on the 7 network - above many men's matches played at the same time. If an Australian women was tostep up to the plate and reach that stage again...Australians will be watching many more women's matches...until that day we will have to sit though another borefest during January :yawn: :sad:

ThreeDT
Aug 26th, 2007, 10:48 AM
women's tennis is not packaged well like the atp masters series is. they cannot generated the sponsor dollars on pay tv to justify paying for the rights to show tournaments and the simple fact is that women's tennis does not attract viewers like men's does. The Hewitt vs Safin Aus Open final is still the highest rating program on Australian television since the Sydney Olympics and every men's final since has been in the top 30 for the same period. The women's finals don't even make the list.

I think you're also massively overselling channel 7s coverage of women's tennis. They buy the rights the summer of tennis and then only show the Gold Coast final with not even a highlights package during the week. During the Sydney tournament they prioritise the exhibition men's tournament in Melbourne above any women's matches. And during the Australian the likes of Federer, Nadal, Hewitt and Roddick are promoted much more heavily and always shown over potentially more competitive women's matches.

The key point is that Australia hasn't produced a female player worthy of mass market attention in the past 30 years and therefore it's natural that the standing of the women's game has been diminished. There are simply commercial realities in the tv business and it's not always just an open and shut case of sexism.
As long as he's got money jingling in his pockets, Rupert Murdoch coudn't care less what gender anyone is. He remains oblivious of any social outcome/implications - It's classic Murdoch at work here.

aussie_fan
Aug 26th, 2007, 11:38 AM
It happens around the world but here the reason is that the only real australian marketable star here is Lleyton Hewitt, he's won two GS and nobody else who's playing decent is really known. Had of Alicia not gotten that virus and still in the top 10 now, coverage would be a bit better i would think. While Lleyton not ranked as high as he used to be he's our only player who's in contention in getting far in the slams.

azza
Aug 26th, 2007, 11:43 AM
Australia Australia Australia

get over it.

DutchieGirl
Aug 26th, 2007, 12:05 PM
CH7 don't show matches from Perth - ABC do. Buty yeah, tennis coverage during the rest of the year sucks on free to air...

switz
Aug 26th, 2007, 12:46 PM
As long as he's got money jingling in his pockets, Rupert Murdoch coudn't care less what gender anyone is. He remains oblivious of any social outcome/implications - It's classic Murdoch at work here.

do you honestly believe Rupert Murdoch is actively involved in the programming of women's tennis on australian pay tv sports channels :lol: i think negotiating 5 billion deals for the likes of the wall st journal would take up a bit more of his time.

ThreeDT
Aug 26th, 2007, 01:08 PM
do you honestly believe Rupert Murdoch is actively involved in the programming of women's tennis on australian pay tv sports channels :lol: i think negotiating 5 billion deals for the likes of the wall st journal would take up a bit more of his time.
He may not be the one making decisions on tennis broadcasting, but he set’s the tone at FOX. If his employees do not abide by his tone they’ll need to find another job. It’s as simple as that.

So yes, I honestly and directly blame Murdoch himself for these immoral decisions.

The “Marketable” chain of thought for certain Australian players is the oldest in the book. I won’t buy that for one minute.

switz
Aug 26th, 2007, 01:22 PM
He’s may not be the one making decisions on tennis broadcasting, but he set’s the tone at FOX. If his employees do not abide by his tone they’ll need to find another job. It’s as simple as that.

So yes, I honestly and directly blame Murdoch himself for these immoral decisions.

The “Marketable” chain of thought for certain Australian players is the oldest in the book. I won’t buy that for one minute.

well then i hope you're happy to join the very long cue of people who have a beef with Rupert Murdoch. If you actually want to see change then you have to work on the people who are actually making the decisions rather than preaching about how evil big bad Rupert is.

And i don't know if you know this but Fox Sports wanted to get the rights to share the Australian summer but channel 7 wouldn't have any of it but still do not program many potential hours of tennis and prioritize re-runs of Mash :o

xan
Aug 26th, 2007, 01:23 PM
There is definitely a lot of sexism in coverage of womens sport. In some sports such as football or cricket, where the gulf is very wide, the lack of coverage may be justified. Cycling and Golf also tend to hev a big bias toward male-only coverage

In other sports, such as swimming or athletics, coverage is almost equal.

The problem comes with Tennis, where world wide the female stars are as well -f not better known than the men, but TV (and press) coverage does not reflect this.

The BBC is a case in point. Outside the Slams, womens tennis might not exist, and during Wimbledon people like John Inverdale and Pat Cash spend most of their time denigrating or trivialising womens tennis. Although live coverage of Wimbledon is excellent. In the main evening round up, the women get about five minutes out of the hour's coverage.

Murdoch's Sky Sports in the UK seems similar to Aussie in that it covers only ATP tournaments and the US Open. Fortunately Eurosport steps in and provides good WTA coverage.

the best way to get TV to give more Womens tennis coverage is to WRITE IN and complain often.

switz
Aug 26th, 2007, 01:31 PM
i agree with your post but i also think the WTA administration gets off very lightly in this analysis. Their refusal to develop a marketable package for the big events throughout the year is hurting how effectively they can sell themselves to tv networks.

ThreeDT
Aug 26th, 2007, 01:37 PM
well then i hope you're happy to join the very long cue of people who have a beef with Rupert Murdoch. If you actually want to see change then you have to work on the people who are actually making the decisions rather than preaching about how evil big bad Rupert is.

And i don't know if you know this but Fox Sports wanted to get the rights to share the Australian summer but channel 7 wouldn't have any of it but still do not program many potential hours of tennis and prioritize re-runs of Mash :o
I heard that there’s a conspiracy going on between the major free to air channels these days because they have many interests in the Pay-TV market. Slowly but surely programming and advertising is becoming poorer and poorer in some kind of effort to woo more subscribers.

By the way (as I said in the original post), I’ve already tried contacting Fox Sports directly. It was a well mannered inquiry which only asked the question based solely on facts. It was 6 months ago. No response yet…

Anyway, thank you for your insight on these matters.

go hingis
Aug 27th, 2007, 03:51 AM
Channel Seven do bite off more then they can chew with all those tournaments running at the same time. It's hard to keep us viewers happy. You tune in to watch Medibank International and they go to kooyong, also the Women's event is ranked higher but the men still get more coverage.

PayTV was ok but still had it's problems years ago. I remember almost everytime WTA was scheduled for 3 hrs you would only get 1/2hr and no match in full.

When Foxtel was bringing out their new sports channel you would see them use WTA Players everywhere for their Marketing. Shopping Centres, Billboards, Foxtel's Monthly Magazine, etc Personally I don't remember seeing any ATP Players used. They had many Commerical's stating over and over again. LIVE WTA, LIVE COVERAGE, the word LIVE was reapeated with Images of Amelie, Maria, Serena, Martina splashed across your screen.

When the new channel was realesed WTA fans had to be excited we just spent months seeing them advertise better WTA Coverage & LIVE WTA Coverage but what a RUDE AWAKENING Not only did we get nothing but we lost the Tournaments we had and there wasn't ONE Live tournament on their TV guide, No Explanation Given, WTA Adds still running and Misleading Viewers. We did complain and I remember throwing in the word Illegal, some people got discounts, they pulled the AD off tv but coverage never improved and still no explanation was given.

kueee
Aug 27th, 2007, 07:04 AM
Well eurosport Australia on selectv (satellite pay tv) actually broadcast quarter finals onwards on all the tier II tourneys and up. If only selectv had foxsports. Ahhh bloody life.