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tennisIlove09
Jun 4th, 2003, 08:39 PM
Tune In Tomorrow: ESPN To Telecast Roland Garros Semis Live

By Richard Pagliaro
06/04/2003

If every picture tells a story, the images emanating from television screens across the country the last couple of days have presented a perplexing picture for tennis fans tuning into ESPN's coverage of Roland Garros.

By the time the final title trophy is raised on the red clay this weekend, ESPN will have telecast a total of at least 77 hours from the French Open. Yet as the draw has proceeded into the later rounds the network has sometimes opted to telecast matches on tape delay rather than broadcasting matches live.

As a result, viewers tuning in to ESPN2 yesterday morning to see Serena Williams' highly-anticipated quarterfinal clash with fifth-seeded French woman Amelie Mauresmo — the last woman to beat the top-ranked Williams this year — were greeted with a tape-delay telecast of Kim Clijsters' victory over Conchita Martinez.

And immediately after that match was finished, ESPN2 presented Williams' crushing conquest of Mauresmo on tape-delay rather than going live to the quarterfinal match between second-seeded Andre Agassi and seventh-seeded Guillermo Coria.

Part of the challenge ESPN faces is the significant time difference between Paris and the major markets in the United States — there is a six-hour time difference between Paris and New York and the City of Light is nine hours ahead of Los Angeles.

The lack of immediacy in the network's recent telecasts has frustrated some fans, but according to Len DeLuca, ESPN's senior vice president of programming, the network's sets its schedule striving to telecast the most compelling matches to the widest audience.

"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."

Just as the final score serves as the ultimate statement of a tennis player's success on court, the ratings reveal a network's success in reaching its intended audience. With ESPN2's coverage commencing at 8 a.m. Eastern time, which is 5 a.m. on the west coast, the network's decision to present popular American players matches on tape delay later in the day is an effort to generate a rise in the ratings. 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."

American tennis fans who enjoyed ESPN's live coverage of matches for much of the first week of play were hoping for similar live scheduling in the second week. ESPN2 continued the tape-delay trend today in its telecast of both men's quarterfinals.

The decision has dimmed the drama from the City of Light for some fans. Unable to tune into live television coverage, fans have turned on their computers where the immediacy of the Internet has illuminated the unfolding drama.

"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."

American fans can tune into ESPN's live tournament coverage of the women's semifinals beginning at 8 a.m. Eastern time tomorrow (Thursday) with a repeat of the women's semis set for rebroadcast at 1 p.m. Eastern time tomorrow. On Friday, ESPN will telecast one men's semifinal from 1-4 p.m. with men's semifinal highlights shown from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

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).

Rocketta
Jun 4th, 2003, 08:53 PM
Hahaha, they got bad press! Good for them. Deluca sucks balls :( :(

120 hours of tape delay @ Wimbledon too! Here we go again?

They know there is no substitute for live action where no one knows what's going to happen! What did ESPN think when they bid on the French Open that the time difference would miraculously lessen? :rolleyes:

Bella
Jun 4th, 2003, 09:00 PM
"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." …Len DeLuca, ESPN's senior vice president of programming

Does the man know the sentence is meaningless? Does he think throwing in "intelligent" and "fans" will make them not notice he didn't say anything?

Now I know another reason ESPN's programming is what it is; it's senior vp of programming is stupid. Here's just a little more evidence that the old boys just hand these jobs out to their cronies.

croat123
Jun 4th, 2003, 09:24 PM
good point bella. i hate it when they completely avoid answering a question.

ESPN sucks :mad: The only reason coverage is live tomorrow is because it starts at 8 am EST.

Gonzo Hates Me!
Jun 4th, 2003, 09:35 PM
DeLuca sounds so sinisterrrrr!

Linnie
Jun 4th, 2003, 10:01 PM
"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."
Translation: "We're gonna show Agassi's matches up the wazoo"

Actually, I've re-read this a few times, and still can't figure out what the fuck he's saying :rolleyes:

ptkten
Jun 4th, 2003, 10:06 PM
lol...the only reason we are seeing the semifinals live is because the matches aren't starting until 8am EST. if they were starting at 5 or 6 like they were earlier, there is no way that we would be seeing either of them live.

King Lindsay
Jun 4th, 2003, 10:15 PM
lol...the only reason we are seeing the semifinals live is because the matches aren't starting until 8am EST. if they were starting at 5 or 6 like they were earlier, there is no way that we would be seeing either of them live.

What on earth is your point?

King Lindsay
Jun 4th, 2003, 10:19 PM
Listen, you guys have to understand that they are actually in a tough situation here. If ESPN had to televise the whole tournament live, then most of it would air in the early hours of the morning on the west Coast, which means nobody would see it and ratings would tank badly. luckily, the women's semifinals will start late enough so that they can show it live at a half-reasonable hour on the west coast.

there are a lot of reasons to criticize ESPN, but this isn't one of them because some tape delaying is necessary.

TennisHack
Jun 5th, 2003, 01:26 AM
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.

TennisHack
Jun 5th, 2003, 01:28 AM
If ESPN had to televise the whole tournament live, then most of it would air in the early hours of the morning on the west Coast, which means nobody would see it and ratings would tank badly.

Well damn, glad to know all the American tennis fans are concentrated into one time zone.

auntie janie
Jun 5th, 2003, 01:43 AM
They have not explained why a tape of the lopsided Clijsters-Martinez contest was deemed to be more compelling than Chanda Rubin, an American's, live match against Henin-Hardenne.

These crap explanations make me gag. Can you imagine them approaching the British Open (golf) this way? They'd be crucified! But they justify it by saying tennis fans are used to this treatment! Oh please. :p

selesfan
Jun 5th, 2003, 03:11 AM
USA network never had a hard time showing live tennis, neither did TNT or HBO, its just ESPN and NBC that has a hard time showing live tennis.

Greenout
Jun 5th, 2003, 03:15 AM
What's the big deal in the USA about televising
"live" sporting events from other countries!!!

I'm an American by the way. Over here in Singapore
they televise all the stuff "live" Oscars, football,
Formula one, Grandslams, even if it's on a 9am on a
week day or 2:30am on a week night. What they
do is a primetime rebroadcast later on in the day
for everyone who was a work or school. They understand
that it's an event to show things as it happens "live".
No one is trying to deceive anyone here.

anton
Jun 5th, 2003, 03:45 AM
Great I get to sleep longer until the Serena match!! :D

Ted of Teds Tennis
Jun 5th, 2003, 04:00 AM
King Lindsay wrote:
If ESPN had to televise the whole tournament live, then most of it would air in the early hours of the morning on the west Coast, which means nobody would see it and ratings would tank badly.

You mean all 30 fans that showed up for the Tour Championships in Los Angeles last November? The event where the final was played at 3.30am on a Tuesday (European time)?

I got up for the 2.30am and 5am World Cup matches last June. You Californians can get up that early for a few days of live tennis.