Heavy hitters Ted Robinson and John McEnroe called the Roger Federer/Michael Russell match until the rains came. They have worked events for USA Network and NBC Sports so they have a previous rapport which works well.
Seeing different channels for the outside courts while the Federer match was on worked well and Bill Macatee is a very capable host. However, tennis fans who don’t have the Tennis Channel were short served as ESPN2 decided to go with its regular daytime schedule, rather than interrupt it for the French Open. This is going to be tough going for tennis fans who complained ESPN2 gave the Australian Open short shrift so I’m sure tennis bloggers are going to be angry over the coverage just two days into this major.
Over to the Stanley Cup, there’s no juice for this event. It’s not because of the matchup, Ottawa and Anaheim, although that’s partly the reason. Had ESPN or TNT had this event, you can rest assured their PR machines would be ramped up. Instead, the lowly Versus has the first two games and Comcast has virtually no experience in pumping up what should be one of the major events on the sports calendar. NBC isn’t really ramping up for this either from what I can see. If I’m Gary Bettman, I do all I can to rip up the current contracts with the two American network partners and practically beg ESPN to carry my league. But since Gary Bettman is incompetent and has no idea how to promote his sport, the NHL will remain buried behind the UFC, the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest, the World Series of Poker and anything else ESPN has aired in its place since saying goodbye to the sport.
More stuff on Tuesday as we all get back to work in the States.