It’s the 4th of July, people are home, and they can’t see the Wimbledon men’s semifinals live anywhere. Not on NBC. Not on ESPN. Not on the Tennis Channel. Instead, ESPN is showing women’s doubles, and NBC is showing Meredith Viera.
Once again, NBC has decided to show the Roger Federer/Marat Safin and Rafael Nadal/Ranier Schuettler semifinals on tape delay this afternoon during a five-hour coverage window starting at noon. By then, the matches will be over, and most Americans who care will already know what happened. In fact, as I am typing this (SPOILER ALERT) Federer has already won his match and Nadal is in the middle of the second set.
All over the Internet, fans are complaining.
It’s understandable that NBC doesn’t, in this instance, have much control when the matches are played at the All-England Club. Obviously, the network would prefer to be able to show the matches at a time that will attract the most eyeballs, and at time when they’re not pre-empting other popular programming. Furthermore, West Coast viewers in particular may not want to get up at 5 a.m. to watch.
But you know what? It’s 2008. Show the dang matches live. In fact, show them live, then show it on tape delay later so everyone’s happy. ESPN did that with its coverage of the Australian Open and it worked out well for them. Tell Matt Lauer and company to take the morning off. Or ship them over to MSNBC. In this day and age, the notion of showing sporting events only on tape delay is one that must be put out to pasture.