USA best thing for pro tennis

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USA best thing for pro tennis

Postby FulhamFan » Tue Aug 31, 2004 6:26 pm

Normally I wouldn't comment on this. But after a whole year of horrendus ESPN coverage I have to say USA does a great job covering tennis.

Right now I'm watching Ferrero vs. Zib in the first round live. Both are non-americans playing in an outside court, something unbelievable by ESPN standards. ESPN doesn't understand that the early rounds has 256 people playing and the center court or americans aren't neccasarily the best ones.

I didn't even see ferrero's first round match at the roland garros when he was defending champion.

The argument ESPN has that americans are only interested in americans is contradicted by the sellout crowd of americans watching this match.
"Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them."- Albert Einstein
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Here's the question, though......

Postby kennycalhoo » Wed Sep 01, 2004 6:47 am

OK, 2 questions, so stick with me.....


1) What are their daytime rankings vs. ESPN's at Wimbledon, for example.

and then

2) Don't they have the added luxury of putting the American stars during their primetime coverage, when most people are home?

I feel like I'm being an apologist for something I'm not even happy about, but I truly do understand why ESPN does it. Even though I do hate it.

The US Open is just a different beast, since they put the American stars in a place where the most Americans can see them, at night. ESPN does the same thing, but unfortunately for the die-hard fans, it conflicts with the live "prime-time" matches at Wimbledon or the French, so we're limited in what we see.
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Come on now - Sold out!

Postby IanF » Wed Sep 01, 2004 6:50 am

Whilst you may be correct re the television coverage, you can hardly call a half empty stadium sold out. It continually amazes me when I watch tennis coverage from around the world how badly attended tennis events usually are. This is in total contrast to the few events hosted in the UK which believe me are pretty challenging to obtain tickets for. However I'll grant you sometimes on television even these can appear empty due to the amount of corporate clients who are usually too busy in the bar.

As regards TV coverage, things have improved dramatically here recently with Sky covering using their multiscreen techonolgy that allows the viewer to pick from up to 5 consecutive games.
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Postby FulhamFan » Wed Sep 01, 2004 11:07 pm

I don't know which match you were watching IanF but the ferrero match had no empty seats. I do agree that Arthur Ashe Stadium has alot of empty seats as well as several events around the world. But for this match in particular it was full. Maybe because it was played on the Louis Armstrong stadium instead of the main one it got the "real" tennis fans.

To answer kenny I think the ratings are really valid because wimbledon is in the summer where less people work. Whereas the US Open is at the end of summer where work and the school season start. Also I think you should compare the ratings between wimbledon when it was on TNT and the ratings on ESPN.

Even though the US Open has the luxury to put on americans at primetime, they instead played the ferrero vs zib match like I said. Also they put Sharapova on Ashe while they put Venus at Armstrong.

Die-hard fans want to see the junior playing on court 18. Normal fans want to the the main matches on center court.

Anyway, ESPN has some explaining to do when they play a TAPED Venus vs noname match instead of LIVE Moya vs Coria at Roland Garros. I mean how important is sporstcenter? wasn't that filler because they couldn't show enough sports? It's not like people don't get they're sports news from the internet and that stupid ticker at the bottom of the screen.
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Hate to sound like a broken record.....

Postby kennycalhoo » Thu Sep 02, 2004 5:11 am

But it's very simple. More people, if flipping around, will watch AMERICAN Venus Williams play, than will stop to watch Carlos Moya vs. Guillermo Coria. I mean, think about your non-tennis friends....do they have any idea who those guys are? I'm not saying it's right, but hell, if I'm at ESPN, I think I'd make the same decision, sadly to say. Venus taped probably gets them better ratings than Moya taped. Simple.
(not trying to be a jerk, Fulham. I do work in media, though, and hate my industry, and know how they work)
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Postby FulhamFan » Thu Sep 02, 2004 5:07 pm

That argument works in primetime. In the morning the people that wake up to watch tennis are in fact tennis fans. Also the taped match was already seen taped in the morning. I willing to bet that a large percentage of the audience are tennis fans that watch tennis regardless of who's on. If they keep up they're antics they'll alienate those fans. I'm not saying they shouldn't show the williams, but if your showing it on tape why don't you show it in the primetime highlight show. Passing up the marquee match of the tournament is very irresponsible, especially for a network that claims to promote tennis. They don't do it with golf, why is tennis any different?
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That's a portion of the audience....

Postby kennycalhoo » Fri Sep 03, 2004 6:38 am

And just as many people are the "casual" fan, who would much rather see Venus Williams play, regardless of whether it's taped or not, and don't really think about it being taped. Next year, take a look at the commercials that are played. They're not all tennis related, they aren't all "sports" related, they are quite often geared toward the "soccer mom", who is at home, and might stick around to watch because she likes to see Venus play. Or Andy Roddick.
And I think you're being somewhat naive to say that because they pass up on Carlos Moya, they're not promoting tennis. American casual fans, the ones who don't visit steveg, don't know about other tournaments outside of the majors, would much rather see Roddick and the Williams sisters than some guy with a funny name.
If you want to talk about golf, look at the coverage of the British Open this year. First of all, ESPN does play highlights of the Open during the afternoon. And they play it live. Notice who they focus on....Tiger, Phil, all the Americans. It's also a completely different setup, just because of the fact that 85 players are all going at it at once. Tennis is just a different beast.
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