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- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
NBC’s faulty Wimbledon coverage
Earlier this week, NBC Sports issued a statement boasting of its 30-year run in televising “Breakfast at Wimbledon.”
Ignored amid the self-congratulation was this: The network’s coverage of Grand Slam tennis has become one of the most loathed things in sports.
NBC once produced memorable coverage of tennis greats from McEnroe and Borg to Agassi, Sampras and Federer.
These days, the network is thoroughly reviled for its inability and refusal to show matches as they happen.
Time and again over the past two weeks, NBC aired tape-delayed coverage of Wimbledon matches rather than broadcast other matches live. The network did the same at the French Open, clinging to a practice as out-of-date as a wooden racket.
The result is a wave of unhappy fans, who have voiced their disdain on Twitter and other social-networking platforms.
Consider the fan experience Wednesday. The network began its coverage at 10 a.m. with tape of Roger Federer’s already-completed match against Ivo Karlovic - even as, unseen by NBC’s audience, Tommy Haas was pulling a major upset of fourth-seeded Novak Djokovic.
NBC then made a bad situation worse by sticking with taped tennis rather than showing matches involving two popular players, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick, that were getting under way.
Not until ESPN2 took over coverage at 1 p.m. were fans on the East Coast able to see live coverage of the remainder of a very exciting quarterfinal match between Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt.
“I don’t understand why NBC can’t show LIVE tennis. It really annoys me,” one irate fan wrote on Twitter.
“Why oh why can NBC not show the matches live? A business deal gone awry and not tennis fan friendly,” another wrote.
With the on-court stakes still higher Thursday, NBC offers only more of the same: Both women’s semifinal matches will be shown on tape delay.
None of NBC’s explanations are particularly satisfying.
The network declines to pre-empt its popular “Today” show, forcing tennis coverage to start at 10 a.m., at least two hours after matches have begun.
NBC also refuses to pre-empt its daytime drama lineup - leaving Wimbledon with a window of only 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
About the Author
Tim Lemke has been the sports business reporter for The Washington Times since 2005, writing on a wide variety of issues ranging from the construction of the Washington Nationals new ballpark to steroid hearings on Capitol Hill. He writes a weekly column titled “SportsBiz” and maintains a blog with the same name. Highlights of his career include playing some very ...
- First Down: Best weekend bets
- SportsBiz: What the next decade holds
- Shifting sands for NCAA
- Monumental sports year will connect fans on a global scale
- SportsBiz: Selling a new career
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