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MisterQ
Jan 23rd, 2004, 10:13 PM
I found this interesting and thought I would post it here. ---- I wonder if it is brought about in response to some of our complaints!

from TennisWeek: (I have also copied the links to the interviews down at the bottom!)

Tuning In To Tennis: ESPN Execs Explain Network's Australian Open Coverage

Photo By Cynthia Lum By Richard Pagliaro
01/25/2004
At the Australian Open, where a retractable roof can completely shroud the sky, American viewers can always see the stars shine with a television rather than telescope providing the perfect view.



Tennis fans tuning into ESPN's nearly 80 hours of Australian Open coverage may see a sight that resembles planetarium-produced programming — the stars are always out no matter when you tune in. Though the men's and women's draws began with a combined collection of 256 players, the number of players appearing in prime-time American television are about as large as the cast of a television sitcom.



Part of ESPN's programming decisions take into account the alarming time difference between Australia and the United Sates: Melbourne is 16 hours ahead of the East Coast and 19 hours ahead of the West Coast. ESPN execs assert that repeating the matches of some players, such as top-ranked Andy Roddick, in both their live evening coverage and tape-delayed afternoon coverage is due to the network's dual obligation to provide West Coast prime-time viewers the most popular players as well as giving those on the East Coast who can't live every weekday night as if it were New Year's Eve the chance to see the players they missed in the mid-afternoon tape-delay telecast. As a result, the Oz Open may appear to offer a less varied view than ESPN's coverage of Roland Garros or Wimbledon, but part of that may be due to the fact that the window of air time for the season's first Slam is slightly smaller than the subsequent Slams, while the competition from other traditionally popular American events — the NFL playoffs, NBA season and the conclusion of the college football season and start of college basketball season — provides a tougher test to capture the interest of potential viewers.

In addition, a depleted women's draw saw such prominent players such as defending champion Serena Williams, two-time champion Jennifer Capriati, former winners Monica Seles and Mary Pierce all withdraw from the tournament before a single shot was struck leaving ESPN without the presence of some of the game's most popular players in a women's field that already lacks the depth of the men's side. For those reasons, ESPN insists part of its programming plans are based on its desire to establish the story lines fans will follow throughout this Melbourne fortnight as well as the rest of the year.

Tennis fans who attend matches are accustomed to taking a seat and watching a drama unfold where points are the plot line propelling the story to the inevitable climax that culminates with match point. One match can be an exciting episode enjoyed in its entirety. ESPN seems to approach its coverage of a match as a single show in a two-week mini-series with unseeded players sometimes relegated to the roles of character actors in the ongoing saga of the stars.

In those instances, the coverage can seem like a made-for-tennis television version of "Waiting for Godot" with Roddick playing the lead role and the network essentially directing its show while "waiting for Roddick" to take the stage. The star power of Agassi, Roddick and the Williams sisters is undeniable, but hard-core tennis fans who can tire of the feeling they are force-fed the same match menu at the expense of sampling the appealing variety inherent in a 128-player Grand Slam draw.

In that sense it seems as if ESPN is basically operating under the assumption that it can count on its core audience — those die-hard fans who will stay up past midnight to watch tennis even if the match they're watching is about as competitive as Steffi Graf's obliteration of Natasha Zvereva in the 1988 Roland Garros final — to tune in regardless of the matches it televises. Critics take the network to task for emphasizing the same cast of Americans in an attempt to cater to the casual tennis fan or the general sports fan, who is aware of Andre, Andy, Venus and Serena on a first-name basis, but may wonder if Smashnova-Pistolesi is a new brand of jackhammer or Vodka.

Some fans of foreign players feel their favorites are too often overshadowed in the ESPN star system. But can you really blame the network that has invested millions of dollars in securing rights fees to three of the four Slams — the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon — and plans to telecast 525 hours of tennis coverage this year, including the U.S. Davis Cup ties, Indian Wells, the Nasdaq-100 Open, the Tennis Masters Cup and WTA Tour Championships, for trying to grow the game's television audience?

On the other hand, repetitive telecasts of the same, name players may be good for ratings, but are they good for the growth of the game? And does ESPN really care about tennis' future anyway or is it merely trying to maximize its investment in a niche sport that sometimes seems to struggle to match the viewership of late-night infomercials?

Among ESPN's staff of about 85 people working in Melbourne include its primary announcing team — Cliff Drysdale, Mary Joe Fernandez, Patrick McEnroe, Pam Shriver, MaliVai Washington and Mary Carillo— who have all competed in Grand Slams during the course of their playing careers. That experienced crew is complemented by studio host Chris Fowler, play-by-play announcer Tim Ryan and Brad Gilbert, who will appear as an ESPN analyst when it doesn't conflict with his primary job of coaching Andy Roddick.

The network has invested both time and money to transform the way tennis is televised with its Emmy Award-winning ShotSpot technology that not only provides clear views of close calls, but is also used to help measure stroke speed.

The network's numbers — ratings — can serve as both evidence that the American stars draw viewers and support ESPN's assertion that its American player-based programming is simply a product of the network giving people precisely what they tune in to see. And the fact is many Americans undoubtedly do tune it to follow the familiar faces creating compelling story lines: Roddick's run to a potential second straight Grand Slam championship, the ageless Agassi asserting his authority over players a decade or more younger as he stretches his victory streak in Melbourne to 24 matches in seeking his fifth career Australian crown, the long-awaited return to tournament tennis of designing diva Venus Williams as she strives to sew up her first major title since the 2001 U.S. Open championship.

In the bottom-line business of television, numbers play a primary part in programming, and the ratings rise when American stars — particularly Agassi, Roddick and the Williams sisters — play. The ratings from the 2003 Roland Garros and U.S. Open women's finals, which aired on other networks, support the statement that American players produce higher ratings in this country. The all-Belgian final between Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters in both the 2003 Roland Garros and U.S. Open finals drew a significantly lower rating than the 2002 finals featuring the Williams sisters. Jennifer Capriati's consecutive conquests of Martina Hingis in the Australian Open finals in 2001 and 2002 were among the highest-rated women's tennis matches in ESPN history.

History helps shape the future of how tennis is televised in the United States.

During the tennis boon of the 1970s, a cast of compelling characters consistently contending for Grand Slam championships — Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors on the men's side and Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova in the women's game — gave tennis a constellation of charismatic competitors whose star power drew fans to the game like the sun draws fans of tans.

Ratings have declined in recent years and ESPN analyst Patrick McEnroe attributes this to a number of factors including the undeniable passion that made those past champions so appealing and identifiable to fans as well as the apathetic approach some young players have that makes the simple act of running after a crosscourt shot seem as daunting as swimming the English Channel.

"We could basically predict my brother, Connors and Borg would be in the semis of majors so people knew them just because of that," McEnroe said told Tennis Week.com in a past interview. "Obviously, they had unbelievable personalities and they cared about winning more than anything else. A lot of the young players I see today don't put their asses on the line every time they go out there and that disturbs me. Not just in tennis, but in every sport. In tennis, you have to earn it every week, so it shouldn't be much of a problem. I think the word is passion. These guys had a passion for the sport, for winning and for competing."

Passion has not been confined to the court.

Some viewers posting on Internet bulletin boards, including Tennis Week.com's message board, have slammed ESPN for its programming decisions and occasionally opting to forsake a live match between lesser players for a taped telecast of a higher seeds. Whether you view ESPN's coverage as redundant or revealing may well depend on where your rooting interest lies, but there's no question that in trying to track the progress of every popular player in an effort to fulfill every fan's desires, the network faces a task as arduous as an astronomer identifying every single start in the sky.

Tennis Week touched on the programming issues and production values present in ESPN's coverage of the Australian Open in an interview with two leading members of ESPN's tennis team: Dennis Deninger, ESPN Coordinating Producer, Remote Production and Len DeLuca, the network's senior vice president of programming strategy.

Both men rose early in the Australian morning to participate in this interview conducted in a conference call. In the first half of the interview, DeLuca details the factors that play a part in ESPN's programming decisions at the Australian Open. To read it, please click DeLuca Interview.

In the second half of the interview, Deninger discusses some of the production aspects present in ESPN's coverage from Melbourne. To read it, please click Deninger Interview.

For a complete listing of ESPN's Australian Open schedule, please visit the ESPN Australian Open web site page.

DeLuca Interview (http://www.sportsmediainc.com/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=10316)

Deninger Interview (http://www.sportsmediainc.com/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=10317)

for-sure
Jan 23rd, 2004, 10:22 PM
looks like someone read the e-mails, although nothing new was said, really...they have their opinion, and we have our opinion. I think they are wrong when they say that the hard-core fans will watch 'anything'. I felt it was a little disrespectful to us.

Cam'ron Giles
Jan 23rd, 2004, 10:36 PM
ESPN is full of shit...:rolleyes:

for-sure
Jan 23rd, 2004, 10:40 PM
I agree. BULL!

tall_one
Jan 23rd, 2004, 10:42 PM
They honestly believe that their die hard fans will watch whatever the put on?! - sorry but that assumption is wrong. I have not, nor will I watch any of Agassi, Roddick or Venus' matches (unless they play one of my favs) I shut off the TV when they come on, I'm tired of seeing the same people over and over again and i'm tired of ESPN showing blow out matches when there are good, close games on. ugh, what idiots!

~ The Leopard ~
Jan 23rd, 2004, 10:43 PM
None of this is surprising. They are after ratings, and they are thinking short term. They don't see it as their job to promote and develop the game. It's the same with Channel 7 and its relentless coverage of Australian players.

I don't like it, and I'm happy to bitch about it, but it won't do any good.

From what I've heard, ESPN is as bad as Channel 7 in producing a lot of yacking instead of showing actual tennis. It'd be nice if they crossed more to matches in progress and cut down on the yacking, but I guess that won't happen either.

It's a pity, because audiences are getting a distorted idea of what tennis is all about...but what can you do? :shrug:

SJW
Jan 23rd, 2004, 10:48 PM
if Britain had 5 Tim Henmans, we would be suffering from the same thing :tape:

rated_next
Jan 23rd, 2004, 10:50 PM
I know. They can show the Agassi match, but it would have been nice to see the ending of the Kapros-Mandula match on TV.

Volcana
Jan 23rd, 2004, 10:52 PM
ESPN is full of shit...:rolleyes:
Really? When the last time you ever saw a network acknowledge the complaints of large numbers of fans in an open forum like that, or bother to explain themselves?

Greenout
Jan 23rd, 2004, 10:56 PM
Too bad. This is horrible news for tennis back in the States.
The situation in Asia is different. They're pragmatic. If there's no
Sampars,Serena, Anna, Mary or Jenn, then WTF! there's still the
new Justine, the King of Clay JCF, Roger, Marat, the new superstar
tennis couple of Kim/Leyton, Paradorn, Amelie, now Maria and
these players are being promoted here. THANK GOD!!
Everyone here learned something from losing all those battles in
World War history. You have to move with the times, and
stop wasting time feeling sorry about what you lost.

I thought 9/11 would change America. It hasn't, obviously
alot of the things back home in the states are still the same.
Still hung up about the USA, and only the USA.

(shakes head)

Kart
Jan 23rd, 2004, 10:59 PM
if Britain had 5 Tim Henmans, we would be suffering from the same thing :tape:
We're suffering enough with just one :tape:.

Hulet
Jan 23rd, 2004, 11:08 PM
A really good article, may be the whiners will read and understand where ESPN is coming from. As any business, they have to maximize profit. If showing competitive matches b/n lower ranked players produces more rating than the demolishen of a player by a high ranked American player, then I have no doubt we will see more of the former matches. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. But, I am just repeating whatever the article described....

Btw, ESPN doesn't have any obligation to improve tennis or any other game. If broadcasting tennis matches becomes less profitable, it will just move to some other sport. I think the people who are negotiating with ESPN in behalf of the tennis tournaments are responible for the growth of tennis. So, they should negotiate into the broadcasting contract some terms which forces ESPN to show more of the lower-ranked-non-american players.

JustineTime
Jan 23rd, 2004, 11:21 PM
This is rather like a politician saying "I promise" while flipping you off behind his back. It's a politely couched, diplomatic "screw you".

When TNT covered Wimbledon(time difference notwithstanding), they would switch around to different courts to give fans a better flavor for what was going on in general. It was MUCH better, IMO.

Question: did they sell the rights to ESPN because of poor ratings? :confused: If so, we're screwed because that would mean that ESPN is basically right. :(

At any rate, it seems clear that they have no intention of making any changes. :rolleyes:

jdog3008
Jan 23rd, 2004, 11:39 PM
ESPN is digging its own grave. By not showing a variety of players, casual tennis watchers never learn who is coming up in the tennis world. This has lead to no one knowing who Kim and "Christine" are.

Non Americans used to be well known when they were shown on TV. Steffi, Monica, Martina, etc. Now, the WTA consists of Venus, Serena, and Jennifer.

Tennis coverage has gotten so bad over the last couple of years. Hopefully it will turn around.

for-sure
Jan 23rd, 2004, 11:39 PM
I LOVE TNT's Wimbledon coverage. The switching from court to court gives tennis a really 'international feel'

supah-fly
Jan 23rd, 2004, 11:41 PM
So if Roddick and Agassi both lose before the FINAL, is ESPN shutting down it's coverage because they won't have a "story" to tell???

Havok
Jan 23rd, 2004, 11:46 PM
if those fucks don't feel like staying awake, it's called a VCR damnit!

graf630
Jan 23rd, 2004, 11:49 PM
It would be great if the Tennis Channel was able to steal the Slam rights away from ESPN! I bet it would be like HBO's coverage of Wimbledon. 24/7 !!!

harloo
Jan 23rd, 2004, 11:53 PM
I thought 9/11 would change America. It hasn't, obviously
alot of the things back home in the states are still the same.
Still hung up about the USA, and only the USA.

(shakes head)
What does 9 11 have to do with tennis coverage? Please!:rolleyes:

Greenout
Jan 23rd, 2004, 11:57 PM
It just looks to me that tennis coverage in the USA will become
more like the current one for soccer. Only focusing on the USA
teams in events they appear in- ignores all the tournaments and
teams from everywhere else.

In the worst case...Grand slam coverage will become like Formula 1.
Big in Europe , Big in Asia, Big in South America, non-existent in the USA.

CapFan#1
Jan 23rd, 2004, 11:58 PM
What does 9 11 have to do with tennis coverage? Please!:rolleyes:
No shit!!!:worship:

ESPN could do better updating the other courts, but NOT like TNT's coverage of Wimbly.... I hate how you see a partial match and then they are off to another court and you are left to wonder what happened?!

harloo
Jan 23rd, 2004, 11:58 PM
ESPN is into money. They want to make money, and if the majority of their audience want's to see big names then big names it will be regardless of how die hard fans feel.

I do think it would be better if they showed other matches besides H-H, Venus, and Davenport(at night). But they do show a variety of men playing with the main stars Roddick and Agassi.

anthonyqld
Jan 24th, 2004, 12:01 AM
that the hard-core fans will watch 'anything'


It's not so much of an issue at the AO, but if they show matches delayed 2-3 hours whilst live action is going on, I won't watch the match. The night match on MCA, which 7 show after RLA is over is fine, as there's no live tennis then - and I make sure not to look at the score of that match.

Seven do it at the FO all the time - showing matches 3 hours delayed, even they often say it's live. I won't watch them, because I already know the score, and the delays match is always one of the "beloved" Aussies.

Greenout
Jan 24th, 2004, 12:01 AM
I live among Muslims and a wide variety of people here in Singapore.
There's media coverage from everywhere CNN, BBC, Middle East, France,
Australia, China- You get a bigger picture of the world.

9/11 has humbled me, but I'm not too sure it did to alot of people back
home in the States. I think their now afraid or intimidated by non-Americans,
and kinda more jingoistic in ways.

Tennis doesn't = American tennis players anymore. The overall tour has
become international, and I don't think ESPN cares.

Greenout
Jan 24th, 2004, 12:03 AM
Why can't the TENNIS Channel buy the rights for AO, and RG?

Crazy Canuck
Jan 24th, 2004, 12:05 AM
If they've been showing a "variety of men playing" I've obviously missed out ;) They've shown Roddick, Agassi, taped Todd Martin to fill the gap before Agassi came on, taped Ginepri to fill the gap before Agassi came on, and Hewitt because none of the American star men were on that night. Naturally, when Hewitt plays tonight, in a match that I actually want to see, I'm sure that ESPN will find a way NOT to show it :)

Humourously, if you've been watching ESPN, you would have no idea that the world number 3 on the ATP is still in the tournament... or had ever been in it at all, in fact. So much for variet ;)

Crazy Canuck
Jan 24th, 2004, 12:06 AM
Why can't the TENNIS Channel buy the rights for AO, and RG?
The Tennis Channel deserves to die a horrible death, that's why. Unless it comes to Canada, then this would be OK ;):D

Greenout
Jan 24th, 2004, 12:07 AM
So, if your first language isn't "ENGLISH" your not on ESPN? :haha:

harloo
Jan 24th, 2004, 12:10 AM
If they've been showing a "variety of men playing" I've obviously missed out ;) They've shown Roddick, Agassi, taped Todd Martin to fill the gap before Agassi came on, taped Ginepri to fill the gap before Agassi came on, and Hewitt because none of the American star men were on that night. Naturally, when Hewitt plays tonight, in a match that I actually want to see, I'm sure that ESPN will find a way NOT to show it :)

Humourously, if you've been watching ESPN, you would have no idea that the world number 3 on the ATP is still in the tournament... or had ever been in it at all, in fact. So much for variet ;)
Do you have ESPN 2? Yes mainly it's been Roddick and Agassi, but they are showing some different matches. If you have espn you will see roddick and agassi only.:)

JennyS
Jan 24th, 2004, 12:14 AM
I wonder why they think Americans only want to see Americans when watching tennis, but don't mind watching Pedro Martinez, Sammy Sosa, Alfonzo Soriano and Yao Ming in team sports. It's really weird.

It's really risky for the US networks to be totally US-centric, especially because there is always the chance some of the big names could lose early. What would they do if Andre and Andy lost early in the same slam? The American fans need to get to know the players from other countries so they don't tune out if and when the American players lose.

TennisHack
Jan 24th, 2004, 12:21 AM
This is a load of crap from ESPN. It seems to me, from the tone of the article, that Tennis Week sought out the ESPN execs for the story. It hasn't changed from over two years ago, when ESPN announced it would only show North American tournaments and Grand Slams so it could focus on the American players only.

How do they see this as "growing the sport"?! WTF are the casual fans going to watch when Venus, Serena, Jennifer, Lindsay, Agassi, Roddick and the lesser American men today retire? It more or less proves my suspicion that ESPN is killing off interest in the sport so they don't have to show it anymore.

As for the friggin Tennis Channel -- it better not buy up the rights to any more tournaments until it's in more than a quarter of this country (the US) and in a foreign country! They tout themselves as the world-wide carrier of tennis events, yet I have yet to hear of a country besides the US carrying it.

Good on TW for recognizing the annual bitch-fest come Slam time on their own boards, but usually the authors there have at least some opinion on the matter, and Richard Pagliaro rather flaked out of this one :rolleyes:

ico4498
Jan 24th, 2004, 12:41 AM
A really good article, may be the whiners will read and understand where ESPN is coming from. As any business, they have to maximize profit. If showing competitive matches b/n lower ranked players produces more rating than the demolishen of a player by a high ranked American player, then I have no doubt we will see more of the former matches. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. But, I am just repeating whatever the article described....

Btw, ESPN doesn't have any obligation to improve tennis or any other game. If broadcasting tennis matches becomes less profitable, it will just move to some other sport. I think the people who are negotiating with ESPN in behalf of the tennis tournaments are responible for the growth of tennis. So, they should negotiate into the broadcasting contract some terms which forces ESPN to show more of the lower-ranked-non-american players.
i agree. the folks selling the broadcast rights, the folks really charged with developing tennis, the folks who stand to profit from its growth ... dem guys need to stipulate some broadcasting guidelines in the contract. its dem guys that need the email campaign. its dem guys who'll never respond.

why sell exclusive rights to ESPN anyway? why not just sell them the option to the few players they deem broadcast worthy? let TNT or USA, who have more available airtime, carry the rest.

Tplayer
Jan 24th, 2004, 12:55 AM
Of course a Henin-Clijsters final will have a lower rating than 2 American sisters playing against each other. :rolleyes: It proves like... nothing. It doesn't mean they should only show the same small group of players the first 10 days. And about Hingis / Capriati, Hingis is not American and she certainly contributes to the high ratings.

What they need is a diversified coverage... Sure showing Agassi, Roddick and Venus is a must, but a part of the coverage should be about promoting non-American players so people get to know them. Showing 2 times the same match is silly... They could the second time only shows the last set of the match and other matches as well instead of showing 2 times an entire match.
As an American Tennis fan living in Arizona I have had my fill of the Williams sisters. I would rather go out in the desert and watch the lizards run around in the sand than to sit through another Williams match. The Williams sisters are old news. We want more variety.

I am Tplayer and I approve this message.

angele87
Jan 24th, 2004, 01:10 AM
Ok article but it doesn't really answer any questions or explain anything, not imo anyway. If ESPN's thinking is that the hard core fans will tune in to watch regardless in the middle of the night and that casual fans will tune in to watch in the afternoon only if Americans are playing, then why not show a wide variety of matches in the middle of night (preferably live) and then show Andy, Andre, Venus, etc... in the afternoon :confused: If they also think that hard core fans will watch anything in the middle of the night, there's no excuse for showing taped matches while live matches are being played :(

Another thing is that ESPN is complaining about a situation they've created themselves. They say that the ratings for slam finals without americans are lower than finals with two americans but of course that's going to be the case when nobody except the hardcore fans have any idea who the foreign players are. Which casual fan is going to watch a tennis match between two players they've never heard of? Nevermind that they're the top two players in the world, who cares about that :rolleyes: Something as simple as showing primarily the stars that attract viewers ( Andy, Andre, Venus, Serena, etc...) and then going to some other matches in between those matches would help the problem. If those people really do pull in viewers then the casual fan is going to stick with the coverage even if told that coverage of Serena will be interupted for 5 minutes to show some points of Kim, Justine, Amelie or Anastasia. That could keep in the casual viewer as well as introduce them to other players. And then they might just tune in when those foreign players are playing each other for some of the biggest titles in tennis :)

LeonHart
Jan 24th, 2004, 01:27 AM
ESPN is full of sh*t. Not just American women gets ratings. Hingis and Kournikova has had high ratings in the past, ESPN is just digging themselves a hole when they only show Americans, because when those americans lose, or cannot play, they have to show some "nobody" and get even lower ratings. The only exception would probably be Sharapova, they did show a couple of her matches at Wimbledon last year.

LeonHart
Jan 24th, 2004, 01:30 AM
BTW: I'm a hardcore fan, and I have turned OFF the television when they show boring matches of Andre and Andy totally demolishing their opponents so far. I don't think the general public would be interested in those kind of matches either IMO, those kind of matches are BORING frankly. :(

Chris_G
Jan 24th, 2004, 02:00 AM
Nothing surprising in that article, but it's still pathetic. ESPN doesn't take this lazy, narrow-minded approach with any other sport. They run 750 different college basketball games every week, not just endless repeats of Duke beating up on Austin Peay. By limiting the scope of the tennis universe to a few American players, they're completely shooting themselves in the foot for now and the future. Why the hell did these arrogant nitwits buy the rights to three Grand Slam tournaments when they clearly have zero interest in tennis?

tommyk75
Jan 24th, 2004, 02:10 AM
Question, in that first interview, the interviewer says that Gustavo Kuerten has won more Slams than Justine. Is that true? Didn't Kuerten win two French Opens, which would make his total the same as Justine's?

Chris_G
Jan 24th, 2004, 02:26 AM
Question, in that first interview, the interviewer says that Gustavo Kuerten has won more Slams than Justine. Is that true? Didn't Kuerten win two French Opens, which would make his total the same as Justine's?
Guga has three French Open titles. He beat Bruguera, Norman, and Corretja in the finals.

TennisHack
Jan 24th, 2004, 02:31 AM
Nothing surprising in that article, but it's still pathetic. ESPN doesn't take this lazy, narrow-minded approach with any other sport. They run 750 different college basketball games every week, not just endless repeats of Duke beating up on Austin Peay. By limiting the scope of the tennis universe to a few American players, they're completely shooting themselves in the foot for now and the future. Why the hell did these arrogant nitwits buy the rights to three Grand Slam tournaments when they clearly have zero interest in tennis?
:worship::worship::worship:

Excellent post :)

Greenout
Jan 24th, 2004, 03:40 AM
So, what's ESPN going to do now in terms of coverage?

JustineTime
Jan 24th, 2004, 04:03 AM
Show reruns of Venus losing ad nauseum in between Andy and Andre.
:)

arcus
Jan 24th, 2004, 04:37 AM
ESPN is digging its own grave. By not showing a variety of players, casual tennis watchers never learn who is coming up in the tennis world. This has lead to no one knowing who Kim and "Christine" are.

Non Americans used to be well known when they were shown on TV. S

Tennis coverage has gotten so bad over the last couple of years. Hopefully it will turn around.

AMEN

the ESPN coverage is rubbish. The article is so short-sighted. ESPN = short term $s rather then long term development of the sport.

used to be that the public could judge for them selves how good pro players were, now the foreign players are "censored", and americans dont even know what non-americans play like.

BigTennisFan
Jan 24th, 2004, 05:20 AM
As an American Tennis fan living in Arizona I have had my fill of the Williams sisters. I would rather go out in the desert and watch the lizards run around in the sand than to sit through another Williams match. The Williams sisters are old news. We want more variety.

I am Tplayer and I approve this message.
You act as if the Williams Sisters got to all of those finals by magic. They had to beat everybody across the net from them in order to reach the finals. During the last two years when Momo and others were talking about how people hated to see them play each other, all the shit talkers had to do was to beat one or both.

Lisa beat Venus today so you will not have to watch the lizards. You can watch the rest of what I'm sure will be an exciting GS. There will not be a WS in the final and I'm sure that the sponsers are jumping for joy. :bounce: :devil:

Hewitt225
Jan 24th, 2004, 05:21 AM
Die hard tennis fans are the ones staying up at night watching the roddick and agassi and venus matches. we are the ones watching the taped delay. we don't need to see the same matches again. the only reason the ratings are so high for them is b/c none of us know anything about foreign players b/c they're never shown!!

treufreund
Jan 24th, 2004, 05:31 AM
a hard core TENNIS fan who has also turned TV off or never even turned it on in the first place when i know that it is gonna be another andy, andre or venus drubbing.

Doc
Jan 24th, 2004, 06:08 AM
STORYLINES!!!!!

STORYLINES!!!!!

Are they trying to present tennis in the same way as wrestling now?


"Here are jennifer and Venus in the Locker Room.

JENNIFER: I don't think you should wear those short dresses!"
VENUS: I'll wear what I want!
JENNIFER: Lets settle this NOW on the tennis court!
VENUS: Okay I'll get the WTA to set up a match - and titles are on the line!"

Brian Stewart
Jan 24th, 2004, 11:06 AM
ESPN is full of crap in their comments. The STORY is the 2004 Australian Open. What are they going to do if Paradorn and Sjeng pull off upsets tomorrow? Try to change stories midstream? As many here have mentioned, they could, at the very least, have shown highlights of other players in action. Give viewers the feel of it being a slam, with dozens of players from around the globe.

If ESPN wants to build an audience for its Oz coverage, here's a radical idea: GIVE TENNIS SCORES AND HIGHLIGHTS ON SPORTSCENTER! They waste more time than these would take up. Last year, SportsCenter only gave about 1% of the WTA singles scores. And not many more of the ATP's. If people were seeing these players mentioned day in and day out amongst the football, basketball, etc., they might actually watch them during the slams.

And you notice how those interviews seemed slanted. They pointed out the lower ratings for the women's finals, but conveniently omitted the lower ratings for the men's finals, including the US Open final, which had Roddick. (He's not anywhere near the star status they think he is.) They also didn't mention how, in the regular tour telecasts, the Belgians they cited drew higher ratings than Roddick's matches. And notice how the interviewer is pushing for more coverage of other men's matches. How about the numerous close women's matches?

The absence of Serena, Jen, Monica, and Mary (when did they ever show Mary's early round matches) were cited as explanation (attempted justification?) for giving the women short shrift. Well, if its these stars, plus Venus, Andre, and Andy, that are fit for star focus, then can we hold them to it come Roland Garros? If Andy goes out early, which is highly possible, and Andre does likewise, and all of the abovementioned women, plus Kournikova, are in the field, can we infer that ESPN will give us wall-to-wall women's coverage? Or will they suddenly shift their emphasis from stars to close matches (men's only, natch)?

And their excuse for repeating matches is total horsesh*t. For one, they have this new invention called the VCR. East coast viewers that can't stay up late for "live" matches probably aren't home in the afternoon either. And their "live" window hasn't been live most of the time.

The article tries to suggest we should be thankful to ESPN for providing 80 hours of coverage. Well, if they're showing a lot of matches twice, we aren't getting that many hours. And they aren't really trying to build tennis with their hundreds of hours of coverage. For example, where's their WTA coverage? They do late rounds for Charleston, Amelia Island, New Haven, and then show the YEC. 4 tournaments. About a dozen or so telecasts. And if they're trying to "build the audience" for tennis, why did they drop Fed Cup? Next time, ask him these questions, Mr. P.

angele87
Jan 24th, 2004, 11:27 AM
ESPN is full of crap in their comments. The STORY is the 2004 Australian Open. What are they going to do if Paradorn and Sjeng pull off upsets tomorrow? Try to change stories midstream? As many here have mentioned, they could, at the very least, have shown highlights of other players in action. Give viewers the feel of it being a slam, with dozens of players from around the globe.

If ESPN wants to build an audience for its Oz coverage, here's a radical idea: GIVE TENNIS SCORES AND HIGHLIGHTS ON SPORTSCENTER! They waste more time than these would take up. Last year, SportsCenter only gave about 1% of the WTA singles scores. And not many more of the ATP's. If people were seeing these players mentioned day in and day out amongst the football, basketball, etc., they might actually watch them during the slams.

And you notice how those interviews seemed slanted. They pointed out the lower ratings for the women's finals, but conveniently omitted the lower ratings for the men's finals, including the US Open final, which had Roddick. (He's not anywhere near the star status they think he is.) They also didn't mention how, in the regular tour telecasts, the Belgians they cited drew higher ratings than Roddick's matches. And notice how the interviewer is pushing for more coverage of other men's matches. How about the numerous close women's matches?

The absence of Serena, Jen, Monica, and Mary (when did they ever show Mary's early round matches) were cited as explanation (attempted justification?) for giving the women short shrift. Well, if its these stars, plus Venus, Andre, and Andy, that are fit for star focus, then can we hold them to it come Roland Garros? If Andy goes out early, which is highly possible, and Andre does likewise, and all of the abovementioned women, plus Kournikova, are in the field, can we infer that ESPN will give us wall-to-wall women's coverage? Or will they suddenly shift their emphasis from stars to close matches (men's only, natch)?

And their excuse for repeating matches is total horsesh*t. For one, they have this new invention called the VCR. East coast viewers that can't stay up late for "live" matches probably aren't home in the afternoon either. And their "live" window hasn't been live most of the time.

The article tries to suggest we should be thankful to ESPN for providing 80 hours of coverage. Well, if they're showing a lot of matches twice, we aren't getting that many hours. And they aren't really trying to build tennis with their hundreds of hours of coverage. For example, where's their WTA coverage? They do late rounds for Charleston, Amelia Island, New Haven, and then show the YEC. 4 tournaments. About a dozen or so telecasts. And if they're trying to "build the audience" for tennis, why did they drop Fed Cup? Next time, ask him these questions, Mr. P.
Excellent post :worship:

go hingis
Jan 24th, 2004, 01:34 PM
Hello ESPN, Channel 7 etc, can't they see this is exactly why the Belgium finals would have less viewers. If they showed more of their matches more people would know them and have more interest.

cheche
Jan 24th, 2004, 01:54 PM
I agree with you Brian.

The biggest slip up by ESPN along with others is that they start their coverage too late. When USA network was broadcasting this tournament, they started the coverage here in the US at 7:00 p.m., remember. 7 o'clock eastern time here is 11 o'clock in OZ. Now that made sense, seeing the first matches start over there at 11:00 a.m..

They can take their explanation and shove it, because ultimately, they won't be making money if the viewing public won't tune in to watch reruns. Duh!

And I agree that TNT & USA would show snippets of other matches, but these behind the timers at ESPN would rather interview Brad Gilbert or someone else.

I have a feeling that someone at ESPN will be hearing more complaints, and one of the programming genious's will get the boot. They should have started coverage at 7:00, and there is no two buts and ifs about it.

:eek:

JennyS
Jan 24th, 2004, 02:18 PM
I didn't realize that USA used to broadcast this tournament. I hope they can get the rights to it again some day.

It really hurts the AO that ESPN added the NBA to its already crowded lineup. There's no room for tennis on the "worldwide leader in sports."

I also think that since ESPN has Wimbledon and the French Open, they probably care a lot less about having the AO.

Hawk
Jan 24th, 2004, 02:55 PM
Well first of all, it's good that they at least addressed the concerns. Unfortunatly as everyone has already mentioned their excuses are retarded :rolleyes:

Especially their reasons for repeating matches, which makes very little sense. Also the crap about the Belgians bringing lower ratings :( Everyone and their dog knows the reason is because they refuse to show them in earlier rounds! They profile and do endless pieces on American players but do nothing for any other top players..perhaps if you profiled Kim, Justine, Amelie and others.. people would get a better feel for them and therefore want to see them play.

So far this Grand Slam I've seen zero coverage of world #2 Kim Clijsters and world #4 Amelie Mauresmo. Oh I'm sorry they talked to Kim for about 30 seconds so it's alright :rolleyes:

Same goes for the top men players.

How do they not see that they're shooting themselves in the foot :confused:

JustineTime
Jan 24th, 2004, 08:01 PM
Well-l-l-l-l....at least they interviewed Kim and Justine while they were showing Andy and Andre! :) :unsure: :tape: :o