Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Big W

I'm many days late with my French Open wrap-up, so let's skip it for now and maybe I'll get back to it. What you need to know now is where to follow Wimbledon on tv, from the computer and on the radio. Let's categorize them by good, better and best.


ESPN, Year 1

Monday begins
ESPN’s new Wimbledon deal. I’m fairly enthusiastic about it because I enjoy all the commentators, their match selection is greatly improved and they are adding special programming as well.
The coverage kicks off a new six-year agreement between the network and the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. ESPN2's live coverage from London will begin at 7 a.m. and include all-day coverage the first week, a women's semifinal and a men's semifinal (July 3 and 4, respectively), and a one-hour "SportsCenter at Wimbledon" that will air after NBC's coverage of the women's championship (July 5 at 2 p.m.) and men's championship (July 6 at 3 p.m.). Dick Enberg, covering his 25th Wimbledon, will call the matches, sharing the duties with Cliff Drysdale. Analysts include Darren Cahill, Mary Carillo, Mary Joe Fernandez, Patrick McEnroe, and Pam Shriver.
The most important revelation is“SportsCenter at Wimbledon” after the championship finals. At last, tennis coverage that approaches the devotion the four-letter gives to golf. I say “approaches” for a reason, however. I’ll let you know how the coverage stacks up as time goes on. Hopefully this will grow. For now, adding analysis of the championship matches is a huge commitment from ESPN.

From your PC has live coverage for your pc. Follow the action from nine courts and get highlights and classic matches, PLUS video on demand, for a fee of 24.99 for access to all 14 days. There are cheaper packages as well. This year they’ve added to their classics vault, which is enough to make me subscribe…if I used a PC. But Apple and Linux users are left in the cold due to rights issues. Hopefully they will clear this in the future.

Free from your PC

You can enjoy Wimbledon highlights and interviews for free on the official Wimbledon website.


Wimbledon Radio…

I look forward to it every summer. Those wonderful two weeks of Radio BBC’s Wimbledon coverage. Describing tennis for the radio in a play-by-play fashion is difficult. Try it yourself for five minutes. Then try to describe all the action while leaving enough time the color commentator to add her analysis. Double-tough.

But on the BBC makes it sound easy and natural. And it’s an unbelievably relaxing yet exciting way to experience the game. During the inevitable rain delays they often read emails from around the world, including from many happy Americans contently listening while at work. And productivity nags never fear, I think I actually get more done during these two weeks. The hypnotic sounds of Wimbledon Radio will be good for me Monday-Tuesday, since I have a major piece of writing to accomplish.

Wimbledon Radio can be heard over the internet. In addition to the main channel, which features matches from all around the ground, plus interviews, news and pressers, there are two other channels. One covers Centre Court and the other follows the action from Court No. 1.

Also listen to Wimbledon
On Sirius Channel 123! I believe last year Sirius broadcasted BBC’s coverage, but I do not know if this is true in 2008.


DirectTV: Wimbledon Interactive Mix

I am jealous of
DirectTV subscribers this week. The provider will have 200 hours of tennis during Wimbledon’s first five days. The features include match selection, the perfect tool for the discriminating fan. That means those of you who have no interest in Serena’s first round match can tune into Robby Ginepri v. Fernando Gonzalez (aka matchup of the mental midgets, which should be highly entertaining), or big serving Aussie Chris Guccione v. next-big-thing Gael Monfils, or Michael Llodra v. Baby Goran. Another sure winner is Sam Querrey v. Juan Carlos Ferrerro, (but I’m sure that’ll make ESPN).
Matches On Now –Provides a view on the lower third of the screen of the latest scores of all current televised matches. Viewers can to tune-in directly to each one by pressing the Select button on the remote.
Matches On Later – This feature will present a schedule of upcoming matches on each of the court channels. Viewers see approximate starting times.
Instant Results – Viewers can access real-time scoring of all French Open matches in progress, and see scores for completed matches. Results from that day play as well as the day before will be available. Also upcoming matchups will be presented, all available without leaving the channel being watched.
Mike, let me know how green the grass is on the other side.

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