Time to check out some updates from today. First, I’ve been checking ESPN2′s Wimbledon coverage through it’s broadband service, ESPN360 (only available through participating Internet Service Providers). Like the French Open, the first day has been plagued by rain. Unlike the Tennis Channel, which had to rely heavily on tapes of old matches, ESPN2 didn’t go to the video of a 27 year old match until 6 hours into Day 1.
ESPN2 did have some matches to show. The network relied on studio host Chris Fowler doing play-by-play at first with studio analysts Mary Carillo and Darren Cahill along side, bouncing from court to court. Viewers were able to see Roger Federer and Andy Roddick complete their matches. Eventually, Cliff Drysdale and Mary Jo Fernandez were brought in to do a match featuring Serena Williams, however, rains came in the first set. As of this writing, the Alleged Worldwide Leader is showing the 1980 Final between John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg, but there’s only so much you can do with rain delay filler during present times. And since ESPN did not have the rights to Wimbledon in 1980, its relying on an archive tape from the BBC. The retractable roof at Wimbledon is coming not a moment too soon.
On to some links. Kurt Snyder of the Newark Advocate has a story on the Big Ten Network. He wonders if cable will eventually cave to carrying the channel. One error that I’ve noticed in this story. Snyder says the Big Ten Network has signed with DirecTV. He tries to tie them together as he says Rupert Murdoch owns both. That’s not true. Murdoch sold DirecTV to Liberty Media Corporation in exchange for more control of News Corp. of which Liberty owned a large stake.
Brian Vanotchen of the Grand Rapids Press applauds Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney for taking on the big cable companies on behalf of sports fans. I don’t know about that. Getting the Big Ten Network on the big cable companies means more revenue for the Conference. It’s all about money these days. Remember, most of the games that are going on the channel had been syndicated by ESPN Regional Television to over the air channels and various Regional Sports Networks so many fans that were getting these games for free will have to pay for them no matter what.
Can you believe Arrogant ESPN is going to put the World Series of Poker on pay per view?
Phil Swann who runs a website devoted to HDTV news says you won’t be able to see Wimbledon in Hi Def unless you live in the UK.
Thomas Hauser writes a very good article for boxing website, Seconds Out, and the focus is on the contentious contract talks between HBO and Larry Merchant. At one point, Merchant was resigned to leaving the network which had been his home over almost 30 years. When word leaked that Merchant was being replaced by charlatan Max Kellerman, HBO backtracked and signed Larry. Merchant and Kellerman will alternate World Championship Boxing bouts under the new deal. But having Kellerman on the telecasts brings a college radio feel. All Kellerman does is yell and talk for no good reason. HBO made a bad move in signing Kellerman.
The Sports Media Watch blog has three quick hits today, including news that the Tennis Channel picks up some Wimbledon coverage next year. That means it’ll have the Australian, French and Wimbledon Grand Slams in its fold. Tennis Channel owns the rights to the French outright, but will have sublease agreements from ESPN for the Aussie and Wimbledon tournaments. And there’s no news to report on the NBA TV deal today.
That’s it for now. I’ll have primetime viewing choices later.