The French Open
Being the secondary cable rightsholder, ESPN2′s coverage from Roland Garros in Paris will begin at 5 a.m. ET during the first week of the French Open.
For the second week, ESPN2′s coverage resumes on the second Monday of the second Grand Slam tournament of the year.
ESPN2′s coverage ends with the women’s semifinals. Chris Fowler and Chris McKendry share hosting duties. Fowler will also call matches. Also on the scene in Paris will be Cliff Drysdale, Chris Evert, Darren Cahill, Mary Jo Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver.
Overall, more than 50 hours of the French Open will air on ESPN2.
50+ Hours on ESPN2, ESPN3 with 330 Hours; Most View Nadal (despite ranking), S.Williams the Favorites
Live morning matches on ESPN2 and day-long coverage via ESPN3 will bring French Open action to fans starting Sunday, May 26. ESPN2’s schedule of more than 50 hours – starting live at 5 a.m. ET most days – continues weekdays through Thursday, June 6, culminating with the women’s semifinals. ESPN3 will provide up to seven screens of action on the days ESPN2 is on the air, totaling 330 hours.
In both the women’s and men’s draws, contenders hope to break the stranglehold the top players have had on recent major championships.
- On the men’s side, injuries – both current and Nadal’s in 2012 – leave the seeding up in the air. Novak Djokovic is ranked No. 1 and won the year’s first major in Australia while No. 2 Andy Murray, who finally won his first Grand Slam title at the 2012 US Open is likely to withdraw because of injury. No. 3 Roger Federer – who has reached the quarterfinals of 35 consecutive majors, winning a record 17 – heads to Roland Garros without a title in the current year for the first time since 2000. Defending champ Rafael Nadal is ranked No. 4, thanks to his long layoff the latter half of 2012, but leads the 2013 points race with six victories (five on clay) and few would be surprised if he were to bring home his eighth trophy from Paris. The contenders after Nadal – David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin Del Potro (who may be forced to withdraw) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – have have all shown the ability to defeat a member of the Big Four but a major title would be a huge break through.
- At 31, Serena Williams’ recent play certainly befits the top-ranked player in the world: 36-2 this year, riding career-best win streak of 24 matches and five titles. Winner of two of the last three majors and 15 overall, she is looking to avenge her stunning first-round defeat a year ago in Paris and win back the crown she has won just once (2002). No. 2 Maria Sharapova is the defending champion and 30-4 in 2013 but three of those losses came to Williams in finals. No. 3 Victoria Azarenka is 22-2 year to date with two titles including her second straight Australian Open. She fell to Williams 6-1, 6-3 Sunday on clay in the Rome final. At No. 4 and No. 5, Agnieszka Radwanska and Sara Errani are at a career-best ranking but each has only reached one Grand Slam final (Wimbledon, 2012; French Open, 2012, respectively) while No. 6 Li Na took the trophy in Paris in 2011 and reached the final of this year’s Australian Open. American Sloane Stephens, 20 – who emerged as a threat with an upset of Williams in Australia – is ranked No. 17 while Varvara Lepchenko of Allentown, Pa., is No. 29 but reached the fourth round at Roland Garros 12 months ago.
After the opening day, ESPN2’s schedule will continue with an all-live telecast starting at 5 a.m. each day through Friday, May 31, and again on Monday, June 3. The network will air live quarterfinal action Tuesday, June 4, at 1 p.m. and Wednesday, June 5, at 8 a.m. ESPN2 will air the women’s semifinals live Thursday, June 6, at 9 a.m. All the action on ESPN2 is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app.
Chris Fowler and Chris McKendry will again share host duties on ESPN2, with Fowler also calling matches. They will be joined by Evert, along with returnees Darren Cahill, Cliff Drysdale, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver.
ESPN networks present all four Grand Slam events and have televised the French Open 1986 – 1993 and since 2002. ESPN3 delivers an unmatched multi-screen presentation of the sport’s four majors, all ATP 1000 and 500 tournaments, WTA Premier Events and season-ending championships for both tours.
For the seventh consecutive year, ESPN2 is working with Tennis Channel to bring viewers an almost around-the-clock tournament experience, with each channel cross-promoting the other’s schedule. Tennis Channel will produce all coverage for both channels, with each making use of its own on-air team.
ESPN3’s French Open schedule totals 330 hours with a multi-screen offering of up to seven courts and ESPN2’s coverage and is available on the days the network is televising. ESPN3 will begin each day early in the morning with the first ball in the air and continue to the last shot of the day. Matches will also be available after they take place via replay. Additionally, ESPNPlay in Latin America and the Caribbean will provide customers with extensive live coverage with multiple windows totaling over 500 hours in both English and Spanish on broadband platforms in addition to televised coverage throughout the regions.
Other ESPN Platforms
Fans will have a variety of ways to follow the French Open with live action and updates on an array of ESPN platforms wherever they are and regardless of whether there is live television offered.
ESPN.com will provide comprehensive coverage before, during and after the French Open, highlighted by CourtCast, which will feature all the live action from ESPN3. As always, it will also include real-time scoring from all courts, plus continuous live polling with results revealed immediately in ESPN2’s telecasts. CourtCast will also provide an augmented social media feed (Twitter and Facebook) from the players, analysts and writers. And, of course, ESPN.com will have the latest news, analysis, schedules and more. Fans can watch Digital Serve daily with ESPN2 commentators discussing the latest action and previewing key matches. Other highlights include:
- The Latest Dirt – a daily notebook roundup of all the day’s action;
- Center Court – a tennis video show featured each week on all the major news from Roland Garros;
- espnW.com – Comprehensive daily coverage of the women’s draw by senior writer Jim Caple;
- What We Learned – ESPN.com senior writer Greg Garber and others will highlight the day’s news and notes with quick video snippets on the overlooked storylines.
The WatchESPN App – for fans who receive ESPN’s linear networks as part of their video subscription via Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV, Comcast Xfinity TV, Midcontinent Communications, Cablevision, Cox, Charter or AT&T U-verse – will provide access to for ESPN2’s live coverage online at WatchESPN.com and through the WatchESPN app on smartphones and tablets, in addition to ESPN3’s multi-screen offering.
ESPN Mobile TV will have 46 hours of live coverage, simulcasting ESPN2’s live programming, highlighted by the women’s semifinals Thursday, June 7.
ESPN Interactive TV, exclusive to DIRECTV, will present the French Open showing ESPN2 or Tennis Channel’s live coverage along with five other courts available with commentary. Other features include interactive data, the tournament draw, up-to-date scores, and daily order of play.
ESPN International will present over 100 hours of live French Open coverage to more than 50 countries in Spanish-speaking Latin America and the Caribbean on its pan-regional and regional networks. Matches will be chosen based on local interest, and commentary will be offered in English and Spanish, with expert analysis provided by two Spanish-speaking announce teams: Luis Alvarez & Javier Frana and Eduardo Varela & Jose Luis Clerc In addition to both SD and HD television telecasts, ESPN International’s broadband service, ESPN Play, will stream over 500 hours of live French Open matches, including the men’s and women’s finals.
2013 French Open on ESPN2 & ESPN2 HD
Date Time (ET) Event Sun, May 26 –
Fri, May 31
5 – 10 a.m. Early Round Action Live Mon, June 3 5 – 10 a.m. Round of 16 Live Tue, June 4 1 – 7 p.m. Quarterfinals Live & Same-day action Wed, June 5 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Quarterfinals Live Thur, June 6 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Women’s Semifinals Live
2013 French Open on ESPN3
Date Time (ET) Event Sun, May 26 –
Fri, May 31
5 a.m. – 3 p.m. Early Round Action Live Mon, June 3 5 a.m. – 3 p.m. Round of 16 Live Tue, June 4 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Quarterfinals Live Wed, June 5 5 a.m. – 1 p.m. Quarterfinals Live Thur, June 6 5 a.m. – 1 p.m. Men’s Doubles Semis
There you have it.
Tennis Channel, the main cable rightsholder for the French Open, has announced its coverage plans for second Grand Slam tournament of the year. This year, Tennis Channel will begin its coverage during the first week at 10 a.m. ET, then move to 5 a.m. on the first weekend.
John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova will be the main analysts for the French Open on Tennis Channel. Bill Macatee will host and also be on during French Open Tonight which will begin at 7 p.m. ET.
Other announcers working the tournament will be Ted Robinson, Ian Eagle, Mary Carillo, Rennae Stubbs, Brett Haber, Lindsay Davenport, Leif Shiras, Justin Gimelstob, Katrina Adams and Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim.
Let’s take a look at the Tennis Channel release.
Close to 70 Live or First-Run Match Hours on Tap During Two-Week Event, from First Day of Play through Men’s Semifinal Round
Macatee Returns to Host French Open Tonight in Primetime; McEnroe, Navratilova, Davenport, Carillo, Robinson, Eagle, Haber, Gimelstob, Shiras, Adams, Stubbs, Wertheim to Handle Match Action
Hundreds of Hours of Free Digital Coverage Available on Network’s Web Site, Mobile App
LOS ANGELES, May 20, 2013 – Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle, will begin its first day of 2013 French Open coverage with nine consecutive hours of matches followed by a another nine hours of interview-and-encore show French Open Tonight. This daily balance – long blocks of competition followed by an all-night review of the day’s play – will be the template for much of the network’s two-week telecast, set to get underway Sunday, May 26. With plans for close to 70 live match hours, more than 65 hours of encore replays, and 114 hours of French Open Tonight, Tennis Channel will devote more than 200 hours of seemingly round-the-clock coverage to the world’s most prestigious clay-court event this year.
In its seventh year at Roland Garros, Tennis Channel’s live coverage runs from the first day of play through the men’s semifinal round and includes encore replays of the men’s and women’s singles quarterfinals, semifinal and championship competitions. The network’s most common daily schedule will offer live matches from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. ET. From 3:30 p.m.-7 p.m. it will showcase the day’s best action via encore match replays, regardless of whether the matches originally aired live on Tennis Channel or broadcast partners NBC or ESPN2 (a complete schedule follows, below).
French Open Tonight, hosted by Bill Macatee (@BMacatee), will run from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. and then again twice throughout the late night and early morning. Since 2008 the show’s stage has overlooked the scenic Musketeer Plaza in the heart of the Roland Garros tournament grounds, with crowd bustle and spectator applause an ever present audio backdrop. As he has done since Tennis Channel’s first French Open in 2007, Macatee will bring his engaging interviewing approach into tennis fans’ homes each evening, encapsulating the day’s best through conversations with the players, coaches, and industry representatives who will write the history of this year’s tournament. Thirty-seven-and-a-half first-run hours of French Open Tonight are planned for 2013.
From 4 a.m.-5 a.m., Tennis Channel will run daily highlights provided by the event’s governing French Tennis Federation, before ESPN2 initiates a new day of match coverage at 5 a.m. Between Tennis Channel and ESPN2, viewers will have virtually non-stop, 24-hour coverage of the French Open. Since 2007, Tennis Channel has produced all telecasts for both channels, with each network cross-promoting the other’s telecast.
In addition to Macatee at the helm of French Open Tonight, Tennis Channel’s coverage in the City of Light has been marked each year by lead analysts Martina Navratilova (@Martina) and John McEnroe, Hall of Famers who return to the network booth in 2013. With 76 major championships between them – and reputations for telling it like it is – both have endeared themselves to tennis fans through unique points of view honed by years of tennis knowhow and accomplishment.
“It’s great to be back at Roland Garros with Tennis Channel,” said Navratilova. “With Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer either attempting or rewriting history, it’s an exciting time in tennis.”
Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76) will add her champions’ perspective to the network’s coverage again, along with fellow analysts Justin Gimelstob (@justingimelstob) and Rennae Stubbs (@rennaestubbs). Leif Shiras (@LShirock) and Katrina Adams (@katadams68) will see to Tennis Channel’s multiple-court mosaic offering to DIRECTV customers, while Mary Carillo will host the network’s live tournament desk and conduct interviews for the third consecutive year. Play-by-play responsibilities are again shared by Ted Robinson, Ian Eagle and Brett Haber (@BrettHaber), with Sports Illustrated‘s Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) on hand for special reports and opinion.
Broadband and Digital Coverage
Tennis Channel’s Web site, www.tennischannel.com, has offered free match streaming live and on demand since its first year of French Open coverage in 2007. Up to five simultaneous courts will be accessible to visitors from 5 a.m. ET through the end of the day’s play, with more than 300 hours overall. New for 2013, the network is launching a free mobile app – Tennis Channel Everywhere – that is available to all users of Apple or Android digital platforms. In addition to French Open matches, the app will include daily updates from Tennis Channel’s online video page with highlights, Court Report news and popular player Bag Check clips.
Veteran tennis reporters Steve Flink and Joel Drucker (@joeldrucker) will be in Paris to contribute to Tennis Channel’s Web site again this year. Throughout the tournament online users can access real-time scoring, photos, daily highlights, interviews, features and segments from French Open Tonight. Interactive tournament draws will be available later this week, as will sweepstakes information and the network’s “Racquet Bracket” tournament prediction game. Additionally, Tennis Channel’s digital team will introduce a Twitter feed, @TCEverywhere, that will be integrated with other social media channels to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at Tennis Channel and its on-air team’s 2013 French Open production. Tennis Channel currently engages with viewers on Facebook (www.facebook.com/tennischannel), Twitter (www.twitter.com/tennischannel), YouTube (www.youtube.com/tennischannel) and Instagram (http://instagram.com/tennischannel.)
Tennis Channel’s Live 2013 French Open Match Schedule
(Men’s/Women’s Singles Unless Otherwise Specified)
Sunday, May 26 — 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., First-Round Action
Monday, May 27 — 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., First-Round Action
Tuesday, May 28 — 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., First-Round Action
Wednesday, May 29 — 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Second-Round Action
Thursday, May 30 — 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Second-Round Action
Friday, May 31 — 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Third-Round Action
Saturday, June 1 — 5 a.m.-Noon, Third-Round Action
Sunday, June 2 — 5 a.m.-1 p.m., Round-of-16 Action
Monday, June 3 — 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Round-of-16 Action
Tuesday, June 4 — 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Quarterfinals
Friday, June 7 — 7 a.m.-11 a.m., Men’s Semifinal
Tennis Channel’s encore coverage will include same-day replays of singles quarterfinals and semifinals, and the men’s and women’s singles championship matches after the tournament concludes (ET):
Wednesday, June 5 – 1 p.m.-7 p.m.: men’s and women’s singles quarterfinals
Thursday, June 6 – 2 p.m.-7 p.m.: women’s singles semifinals
Friday, June 7 – 5 p.m.-midnight: men’s semifinals=TBD: men’s and women’s finals
On Tuesday, June 11, the network will air the women’s doubles championship from 6 a.m.-8 a.m. ET and men’s doubles championship from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. ET.
Tennis Channel’s French Open Tonight Schedule
Viewers who miss Tennis Channel’s live or encore match coverage during this year’s tournament can tune into French Open Tonight Sunday, May 26-Thursday, June 6. Typically the show airs from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. (all times ET), followed by immediate repeats from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. and 1 a.m.-4 a.m. On Saturday, June 1, the show originally airs from 3 p.m.-6 p.m., followed by encores from 6 p.m.-9 p.m., 9 p.m.-midnight and 12 a.m.-3 a.m. The schedule on Sunday, June 2, sees a first run from 4 p.m.-7 p.m., then 7 p.m.-10 p.m., 10 p.m.-1 a.m. and 1 a.m.-4 a.m. Thursday, June 6, the show will air from 7 p.m.-11:30 p.m. and then 11:30 p.m.-4 a.m.
My apologies for not bringing you links over the last week. It’s been a crazy time for me. Some linkage now.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today writes that NBC’s Rowdy Gaines doesn’t believe that Michael Phelps won’t be swimming competitively four years from now. And Hiestand reports that Matt Millen will ruin your college football viewing experience during primetime this fall.
John Ourand and Tripp Mickle at Sports Business Journal’s Olympics site find what former NBC Sports Emperor Dick Ebersol is doing in London during the Games.
Ourand talks with Comcast CEO Brian Roberts about the Olympics being a guinea pig for new media.
Ourand writes that NBC execs are feeling bullish on the Olympics after a very good start.
Mickle says a change in strategy has led the International Olympic Committee to increase its take in rights fees from global TV partners.
Sports Business Journal’s Austin Karp writes that NBC saw a slight bump from Sunday’s Olympic Primetime from Beijing.
Tim Baysinger from Broadcasting & Cable says last night’s Olympic ratings were down from last Sunday.
Jeanine Poggi of Advertising Age says we can complain all we want, NBC is still laughing all the way to the bank with its increased Olympic TV ratings.
Media Life notes that NBC’s Today Show is back on top of the morning show ratings thanks to the Olympics.
A former GM of an NBC affiliate tells Chuck Ross of TV Week what the network can learn from the BBC in televising the Olympics.
Ed Sherman at the Sherman Report chastises NBC for not showing Usain Bolt’s gold medal-winning run in the 100 meters live yesterday.
Speaking of Bolt, BroBible has video of him stopping a post-race interview with a Spanish reporter as Sanya Richards-Ross was getting her gold medal at the Olympics.
Jason Dachman of Sports Video Group notes how the Canadian Olympic Broadcast Consortium downsized its operation for London as compared to its huge undertaking in Vancouver.
Jason looks at BBC’s preparation for the 2012 Olympics.
Ty Duffy of The Big Lead says NBC’s handling of the London Olympics pales in comparison to the BBC in the UK.
Also from The Big Lead, Jason McIntyre notes that the increasingly bitter Phil Mushnick of the New York Post has set his sights on Olympic gymnasts wondering why they’re so tiny and don’t have any breasts. C’mon, Phil.
Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing has video of the BBC track & field studio crew off-camera openly rooting for Mo Farah when he won his gold medal in the 10,000 meters and then again the following day for Usain Bolt in the 100 meters.
Peter Kafka of All Things Digital reports that the long-rumored Turner Sports purchase of the Bleacher Report for an estimated nine figures will finally close today.
John Koblin of Deadspin has the entire Twitter discussion between ESPN tome co-author James Andrew Miller and ESPN’s Darren Rovell from earlier today.
Glenn Davis of SportsGrid has video of NFL Network’s Mike Mayock singing during last night’s Hall of Fame preseason game.
Jane Kellogg of the Hollywood Reporter writes about NBC’s rights extension for the French Open.
Anthony Crupi of Adweek says the NFL season hasn’t officially begun, yet CBS is close to being sold out for Super Bowl XLVII.
Chad Finn of the Boston Globe writes that US judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison got to meet Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers at the NBC Olympic studios in London where he’s the studio analyst for basketball.
Phil Mushnick in the New York Post goes after MLB today.
David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun says NBC is attempting to ride the Michael Phelps gravy train for as long as possible.
Dan Steinberg at the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog has video of the new Subway ad starring DC NFL Team QB Robert Griffin III.
Dan has a look at the DC NFL Team’s preseason TV schedule.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner says NBC has not been hurt by tape delaying Olympic events.
Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times writes about last week’s debut of the new local sports radio station.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says Friend of Fang’s Bites Trenni Kusnierek will be leaving her radio gig at the end of the month to become an anchor/reporter for Comcast SportsNet New England. In effect, Trenni replaces Nicole Zalmouis who left for NFL AM on NFL Network.
At Chicago Sports Media Watch, Paul M. Banks says outgoing Comcast SportsNet reporter Sarah Kustok got a rousing sendoff from White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski the other night.
Sarah has a picture of the sendoff at her Twitter account.
Jerry Barmash of Fishbowl NY tells you where Sarah is going.
Dusty Saunders from the Denver Post looks at the Broncos’ radio and TV and other related broadcasts.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has your sports calendar for this week.
Sports Media Watch notes that NBC’s Olympic daytime ratings are up.
And I’ll end it there for now.
After losing the rights to Wimbledon last year, I wondered if NBC would get out of the tennis business, but that idea was shattered this morning.
While it’s in the midst of the Olympics, NBC still had time to negotiate a rights extension to the French Open through 2024. This will keep Roland Garros on network television for 50 consecutive years dating back to 1975. Al Michaels and John McEnroe made the announcement during Olympics Daytime just before the tennis gold medal match this morning.
NBC says the new agreement calls for extended coverage on the network including Memorial Day matches and the women’s semifinals. This year began coverage on the Opening Sunday of play.
However, I still wonder if NBC will do tape delayed shenanigans that was hampered its coverage in the past. NBC states that there will be live streaming of its coverage so it appears the tape delays will remain in place. We shall see.
In any event, here’s the announcement.
New Multi-Year, Multi-Platform Agreement Includes Increased Digital Rights and 10 Additional Hours of Television Coverage Beginning in 2013
Coverage Now Includes Memorial Day play and Women’s Semifinals
NBC will continue to Air Opening Sunday, Middle Weekend and Live Championship Weekend Coverage
LONDON/NEW YORK – August 5, 2012 – The NBC Sports Group and the French Tennis Federation, today announced a multi-year, multi-platform extension that includes 10 more hours of live U.S. television coverage and increased digital rights for the Grand Slam event through 2024. NBC will air the opening Sunday of the tournament, as it did this year for the first time, as well as middle weekend tennis, the men’s and women’s semifinals and the men’s and women’s finals.
This extension brings key days of the tournament to the network, including Memorial Day coverage, and the women’s semifinals rounding out the network’s championship weekend. At the conclusion of this agreement, NBC will have served as the broadcast home of the French Open for 42 consecutive years.
“The French Open is one of the world’s most celebrated sports events,” said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “This ground-breaking agreement will extend our relationship with Roland Garros through 2024, and provides tennis fans with more comprehensive coverage than ever before, including live streaming of more matches.”
“After 30 years of outstanding work in televising the French Open, the French Tennis Federation is thrilled to renew their American network agreement with NBC for a long term period,” said Michel Grach, director of media and sponsorship, French Tennis Federation. “This new agreement will increase NBC’s hours of coverage of the tournament, which will continue to build Roland Garros’ American audience. NBC and FFT reinforce their partnership at a very strategic period in FFT’s history with the start of the new stadium program.”
The French Open will be available for tennis fans on NBCSports.com, where fans can watch live streaming of all of NBC’s coverage. NBCSports.com will also provide daily video highlights and online-only analysis by NBC’s tennis commentators.
In 1975, NBC became the first American television network to provide coverage of the French Open when the network signed a three-year deal with the French Tennis Federation. The tournament was covered by CBS from 1980-82 and returned to NBC in 1983, where it has remained since.
That’s going to do it.
We continue the guest columns today. I hope you had a chance to read the first column written by Paul Lebowitz on Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. We’ll continue with the guest columns throughout the week and we certainly have quite a bit of good material for you.
This comes from recent college graduate Ryan Scheb. A tennis fan, Ryan has been watching the French Open on ESPN, NBC and Tennis Channel and he gives his grades to all three rightsholders.
2012 French Open: Media Grades
Three networks, ESPN, The Tennis Channel and NBC have all teamed up to provide all but round-the-clock coverage of tennis’ most grueling tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. While the three networks are playing nice together, which is a great benefit to viewers, each network still has their own unique style. Here I’ll spend some time analyzing and grading each of the network’s coverage.
Last year, ESPN and the Tennis Channel decided to swap coverage windows. ESPN now owns the rights to all courts from 5AM – 10AM Eastern. While ESPN lauded the move as being able to show more live tennis, the French Open schedule makers have put the best matches later in the day – outside ESPN’s viewing window. Many times, the 3rd match on Court Phillipe Chatrier (Roland Garros’ Center Court) has been the premiere match of the day. This usually starts around 9:30AM, Eastern Time. As ESPN’s window ends at 10AM, they have sometimes elected to not even show the beginning of the match because they will obviously not be able to show it to its conclusion.
That being said, one of the greatest assets of ESPN’s coverage is their ESPN 3 website and Watch ESPN app for iPhones and iPads. Both allow a viewer to watch live coverage of ongoing matches that are not currently airing on ESPN as well as ESPN’s coverage if a television is not available.
While their coverage window at the French Open continues to be somewhat frustrating, their coverage remains first class. I have long said that ESPN’s tennis crew has the best chemistry in all of sports. Tennis, by its very nature, has a bit of a club-like mentality. Because almost all of the broadcasters are put of this club, they all seem to know each other quite well. This makes watching the ESPN coverage of tennis so much fun because viewers can tell that the commentators are more than colleagues, they are friends.
Unfortunately, this exclusive club causes conflicts of interest that some broadcasters have trouble getting over. Patrick McEnroe is the Director of Player Development for the USTA; he also serves as lead analyst for ESPN. McEnroe is a pretty good analyst and he does a fairly good job of overcoming his bias. While he (and the rest of the ESPN team) root for Americans, he seems able to be objective in his commentating.
The same cannot always be said for Mary Joe Fernandez, the captain of the Women’s Fed Cup team. While she is an adequate analyst, although I find her a little boring, I was frustrated with her early in the tournament when she refused to answer a question about which up and coming American tennis player had the best chance to really make it. The response of “they all have some chance” does not serve the viewer well.
Led by the versatile Chris Fowler of College GameDay fame, the entire ESPN crew is the best in the business. Fowler serves as occasional host, although more and more he is calling matches. It is clear that he really enjoys tennis which viewers appreciate. Darren Gilbert, Brad Gilbert, Chris Evert and Pam Shriver join McEnroe and Fernandez as analysts for ESPN. All are good analysts and very comfortable on television. Gilbert is quirky but provides good strategic analysis (he was a very successful coach.) He was at his best during the Djokovic-Tsonga quarterfinal on Tuesday Cahill who joined the team when Gilbert left to coach Andy Murray has really grown into his role as a commentator.
Shriver is a personal favorite, although she can be polarizing. I believe she is the most objective commentator on the team. Ironically, she is the most separate from the “tennis club” mentioned before. Chris (Chrissie) Evert is the newest member of the team; she replaced the outspoken Mary Carillo. Evert is smart, well-spoken and ready to be critical when necessary. But, even with Shriver and Evert, Carillo is missed. (More on her later.) Both Shriver and McEnroe have begun to call matches as “play-by-play commentators” with another analyst. Of course, unlike in other sports, tennis commentators do not actually talk during the points, so very few descriptions of what is happening take place. Nevertheless, both have done well in this role.
Chris McKendry serves as host for the network’s coverage and does a good job. She does a much better job in that role than Hannah Storm. Cliff Drysdale, who was one of ESPN’s first ever employees, continues to call matches with the team. He was not in Paris for the French Open but will rejoin the crew for Wimbledon.
The Grade: A-. Great announcing team, solid production and online streaming give the ESPN tennis team production a very respectable grade.
How to Improve: Cliff Drysdale has probably seen his better days; it is time for him to retire. I’d like to see ESPN get Ted Robinson to help them with Wimbledon and the US Open since he will not be working during either of those tournaments. Also, I’m not a huge fan of Mary Joe Fernandez. She adds little to the commentary and struggles to remain objective. Getting Carillo back would be a HUGE win for ESPN.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 10 years since the Tennis Channel was launched. In these quick nine years, it’s come a long way. What once started as an outlet for tennis fanatics to watch no-name tournaments has turned into a must have network for even the faintest of tennis fans. Their turnaround is no more obvious than at the French Open, where they signed their first contract at a Grand Slam back in 2007. Since then they have acquired some sort of rights at all four slams.
Despite having come a long way, there is still room for improvement. Their graphics package looks like it comes from the 1980s and the lack of online streaming is a major drawback. Sunday morning when Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer were struggling, I would have liked to be able to watch both matches. If this took place during ESPN’s television window, that would have been simple with the aforementioned ESPN3. Tennis Channel did not offer that opportunity. This continued during the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were in a tight match on Chatrier while Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro were battling on Court Suzanne Lenglen. Tennis Channel, which had coverage until 1PM Eastern Time was only able to show one match at a time. When ESPN took over coverage, I was immediately able to watch both matches thanks to online streaming.
Without question, the French Open is their biggest event of the year. As such, they bring their best crew to Paris. With NBC, they share Ted Robinson, John McEnroe and Mary Carillo. Simply put, there is no better broadcast booth in tennis. Robinson is a pro and he knows how to handle McEnroe, who despite being tennis’ best analyst can be overly talkative. Carillo, although toned down when McEnroe is in the booth, is no stranger to highly opinionated commentary. Carillo is so respected that she is constantly pegged by Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch as one of the best broadcasters of any sport. (Note: For Tennis Channel’s coverage, Carillo does not join Robinson and McEnroe in the booth. Despite the fact that the two are good friends, this is per McEnroe’s request.) The fact that the Tennis Channel uses the best commentary team in all of tennis is impressive.
Unfortunately, the highlights end there. Other analysts for the Tennis Channel include Lindsay Davenport, Rennae Stubbs, Justin Gimelstob and Jon Wertheim. Ian Eagle, Brett Haber, Bill Macatee and Cari Champion round out the team. Davenport and Stubbs are average analysts, but both, Davenport especially, seem extremely shy. Gimelstob is polarizing. While some, including CNBC’s Darren Rovell have given their approval, many others find him annoying, myself included. Tennis Channel’s analysts, save for Carillo and McEnroe, are just a little wet behind the ears. They definitely know the game, but they lack the TV presence that make ESPN’s team such a pleasure to watch.
The Grade: I’ll give the Tennis Channel a B-. Not bad for a network that three years ago would have gotten a D.
How to Improve: Time will help Tennis Channel’s newer analysts. Better graphics and online streaming would greatly enhance their coverage.
NBC offers very limited coverage of the French Open. Robinson, McEnroe and Carillo do all the commentating for the network. As mentioned, they are a great crew. Frankly, there isn’t too much else to say about the network. They own a three hour window on the weekend days of the tournament and then air some of the men’s semifinals on Friday and the two finals on the final weekend. NBC has been doing tennis for a long time and they know what they are doing, except when it comes to airing live coverage outside of the Eastern Time Zone on weekdays.
The Grade: Not much to grade, so I’ll give them an “S” for Satisfactory. They do the job and do it well.
How to Improve: Live Coverage to all time zones on semifinal Friday.
Overall, tennis fans are treated to pretty good coverage. ESPN is by far the superior network, but both the Tennis Channel and NBC do a nice job rounding out the coverage. Looking ahead, ESPN has complete coverage of Wimbledon this year, from the first serve to championship point. Mercifully, gone are the days where NBC would take over midday during the 2nd week of the tournament and then refuse to air live coverage to the entire country. ESPN will air the tournament live to the entire country, plus every television court will be available on ESPN 3/Watch ESPN throughout the tournament, including the finals. This is a great victory for tennis fans!
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Ryan Scheb graduated from the University of Florida; he majored in Finance. This fall he will move to New York City where he will join the Volunteer Program at Cristo Rey New York High School. Ryan is a diehard Packers fan/owner and longtime tennis fan. He has always had an interest in sports media and loves to write so he had a lot of fun writing this guest column.
And we have more guest columns coming tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
Earlier today, Serena Williams lost her very first match in a Grand Slam Tournament first round. She had previously won all of her 45 first round Grand Slam tournament matches, but after winning the first set 6-4, she lost the last two sets, 7-6 and 6-3. The last game was epic taking over 20 minutes and Serena fighting off 8 match points before finally succumbing.
The match lasted three hours and three minutes. If you missed any part or all of the match, Tennis Channel will air it in its entirety on French Open Tonight which is on three times at 7 p.m., 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
If I heard it right, Ian Eagle and Lindsay Davenport called the match.
Here’s the press blurb from Tennis Channel.
Serena Williams lost in the first round of a major tournament for the first time in her career, falling to Virginie Razzano of France 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 Tuesday at the French Open.
Tennis Channel will show this match in its entirety tonight (May 29) at 7 p.m., 10 p.m., and 1 a.m. ET as the first part of French Open Tonight.
NBC Sports begins coverage of its one and only remaining Grand Slam tennis tournament, the French Open on Sunday. Last year, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club awarded the rights for Wimbledon exclusively to ESPN after NBC pulled another year of tape delay BS. Well, NBC is expanding its coverage of the French Open to include the very first day of play, this Sunday at noon ET after ESPN2 and Tennis Channel begin their coverage in the morning.
Then NBC will have coverage the following weekend, Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3 starting at noon ET both days. It will return with the Men’s Semifinals, most likely picking up the second one in progress at 11 a.m. live on the East Coast and airing in ALL TIMES ZONES AT 11 A.M.!!!! Once again, NBC is pulling tape delayed BS giving the West Coast a match that will mostly likely be over when it begins to air at 11 a.m. PT.
NBC does point out that it will stream its coverage of the Men’s Semifinals live across the country on NBCSports.com so those stuck in time zones with a tape delay can see it in real time on their computers.
Ted Robinson, John McEnroe and Mary Carillo call the matches for NBC as well as for Tennis Channel.
Here’s the NBC announcement.
20 Hours from the 2012 French Open on NBC Culminates with Live Coverage of the Woman’s Final on Saturday, June 9 and the Men’s Final on Sunday, June 10
This Marks NBC’s 30th Consecutive Year as the Broadcast Home of the French Open
“He has a chance to basically say, ‘I’m the best ever.’” – NBC’s John McEnroe on Nadal
“Rafael Nadal will go down in history as the greatest-ever clay-courter, eclipsing the luminous Bjorn Borg, but Roger Federer continues to dominate the ‘greatest ever’ dialogue.” – NBC’s Mary Carillo
“It’s amazing that he still has that hunger and passion. It sort of reminds me of what I see with Kobe Bryant.” – McEnroe on Federer
NEW YORK – May 23, 2012 – NBC’s 20 hours of 2012 French Open coverage begins this Sunday, 12 noon ET, with live opening-round coverage, and culminates with the Women’s Final on June 9 and the Men’s Final on June 10. In all, NBC will broadcast 20 hours from Roland Garros, including coverage on the first Sunday of play for the first time.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal has won six French Open titles (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011). With a win this year he will surpass Bjorn Borg for the most men’s French Open championships in the Open era.
COMMENTATORS: Host Ted Robinson anchors NBC’s coverage, joined by analysts John McEnroe and Mary Carillo. McEnroe and Carillo teamed to win the mixed doubles title at the 1977 French Open. This is NBC’s 30th consecutive year televising the event.
MCENROE ON NADAL’S PLACE IN TENNIS HISTORY: “He still has the chance to be the best player in history. So that alone is something pretty major. I’ve long considered Roger Federer to be the greatest in history, but Nadal sort of knocked on the door with a winning record over Roger. (Rod) Laver was my other guy and then (Pete) Sampras. Those are the four best.”
MCENROE ON NADAL’S STANDING ON CLAY: “This is sort of a historic event, because my buddy and rival Bjorn Borg won six out of eight and only lost twice at the French Open. Nadal’s won six and lost only once, so he has a chance to basically say ‘I’m the best ever.’”
CARILLO ON NADAL-FEDERER: “Rafael Nadal will go down in history as the greatest-ever clay-courter, eclipsing the luminous Bjorn Borg, but Roger Federer continues to dominate the ‘greatest-ever’ dialogue. A second French Open title from Roger would cement his superiority over Laver, Sampras…even Rafael, until and unless the Spaniard racks up more Wimbledons and U.S. Open titles.”
MCENROE ON NADAL-FEDERER: “Nadal-Federer is something that we’ll look back on and realize that this is one of the all-time great rivalries.”
MCENROE ON FEDERER’S DRIVE: “It’s amazing that he still has that hunger and passion. It sort of reminds me of what I see with Kobe Bryant. He’s someone who’s getting on an age but still seems to want it just as badly as in the very beginning of his career.”
MCENROE ON DJOKOVIC: “Don’t forget about Djokovich trying to win four-in-a-row (majors). That’s pretty historic as far as that goes, because that hasn’t happened since Laver did it when he won the Grand Slam.”
MCENROE ON HIS PICK FOR THE MEN’S FINAL: I’d like to see Djokovic-Nadal to see if Djokovic has it in him to be able to beat Rafa for three out of five (sets) on clay.”
CARILLO’S FINAL FOUR PROJECTIONS:
Men: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych
Women: Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Li Na, Samantha Stosur
FRENCH OPEN ON NBC: Following is the schedule for NBC’s coverage of the 2012 French Open, which culminates with live coverage of the Women’s (June 9) and Men’s (June 10) Finals:
FRENCH OPEN ON NBC
Sunday, May 27 Noon – 3 p.m. ET First Round (Live) Saturday, June 2 Noon – 3 p.m. ET Third Round (Live) Sunday, June 3 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. ET Fourth Round (Live) Friday, June 8 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. (all time zones) Men’s Semifinals (Live ET, tape delayed everywhere else) Saturday, June 9 9 a.m. – Noon ET Women’s Final (live) Sunday, June 10 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. ET Men’s Final (Live)
FRENCH OPEN ON NBCSPORTS.COM: Tennis fans can go online to watch a live simulcast of each day of NBC’s coverage including the Men’s and Women’s Finals, and live streaming coverage, across the country, of the Men’s Semifinals on Friday, June 8. NBCSports.com will also provide daily video highlights online-only analysis for NBC’s tennis commentators.
NBC AND THE FRENCH OPEN: In 1975, NBC became the first American television network to provide coverage of the French Open when the network signed a three-year deal with the French Tennis Federation. The tournament was covered by CBS from 1980-82 and returned to NBC in 1983, where it has remained since.
Yes you do. It’s overdue. I thought being on unemployment would give me more time for doing the site. Instead, I have less. I don’t know how that’s happened.
Anyway, here are some links for you.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand has soon-to-be NBC’s Michelle Beadle saying even she’s sick of the coverage on where she’s going next.
Michael takes a look at the Weekend TV ratings.
Nicole Auerbach of USA Today says Laurie Fine, wife of ex-Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, has officially filed her libel lawsuit against ESPN.
At Sports Business Journal, John Ourand and Michael Smith report that the Southeastern Conference, in the midst of restructuring its media rights deal with CBS and ESPN, could be resurrecting its plans to start an SEC Channel.
Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News goes over the “trade” between TBS and MLB Network giving the young network its first postseason action this season.
Tim Baysinger of Broadcasting & Cable says ESPN 3D will air the last five days of Wimbledon later this summer.
David Mercer of the Associated Press says citing low ratings, the Big Ten Network will drop academic non-sports programming in order to air higher rated sports.
Anthony Crupi of Adweek talks about GM pulling out of advertising in Super Bowl XLVII.
Brian Clapp at Sports TV Jobs tells aspiring sports TV anchors how to thrive in local markets despite the shrinking amount of time in newscasts.
Dan Fogarty from SportsGrid has video of TNT’s Charles Barkley admitting to America that he waxes his eyebrows.
Eric Goldschein of SportsGrid has this funny video of Saturday Night Live’s Jay Pharoah getting Stephen A. “A is for Acrimonious” Smith down pat.
From the New Haven Register, David Borges talks with long-time Red Sox radio voice and Connecticut native Joe Castiglione about his career and his new book.
Ken Schott at the Schenectady Gazette talks about CBS Sports sublicensing some college basketball games from ESPN.
Pete Dougherty in the Albany Times Union has the French Open TV schedule.
Pete says the overnight ratings for the Preakness Stakes dropped double digits from last year.
Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly.com says NBC Sports Network will tap some familiar names to call MLS action this weekend.
David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun says NBC got the job done in its Preakness Stakes production.
Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog says Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic is on the RGIII train.
The increasingly bitter Thomas Boswell of the WaPo feels MASN should pony up for the Washington Nationals media rights.
Jim Williams at the Washington Examiner writes that outgoing NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora is looking forward to working and writing for CBS.
Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times says two writers from the newspaper including sports media writer Tom Jones will co-host a new morning show for the local sports radio station. Jones will now stop covering sports radio to avoid a conflict of interest.
Iliana Limón Romero of the Orlando Sentinel says the Big East is hopeful of finding a suitable TV suitor for the league.
David Barron from the Houston Chronicle has some sports media observations.
Mel Bracht at The Oklahoman writes that TNT’s Charles Barkley is looking forward to visiting Oklahoma City for the NBA Western Conference Finals.
John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that the Reds gave local radio station WLW a big ratings win last month.
Bob Wolfley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looks at the local weekend ratings.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says a technical glitch forced Cardinals fans to watch Fox Sports San Diego’s feed of last night’s Redbirds-Padres game and listen to Dick Enberg which is not a bad thing at all.
Bryce Miller of the Des Moines Reigster says Iowan and Olympics hurdler Lolo Jones is on a media blitz.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says the Dodgers will honor long-time Spanish radio voice Jaime Jarrin next month.
Timothy Burke at Deadspin has video of NBC Sports Network’s Doc Emrick ripping diving in soccer.
Steve Lepore of Puck The Media says ratings for the NHL Conference Finals on the NBC Sports Group are down.
Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing has some of Pam Ward’s “Greatest” hits over her years calling college football.
That will do it for now.
As the primary cable TV rightsholder for the French Open, Tennis Channel will carry the bulk of the action live from Roland Garros and the red clay in Paris.
Ted Robinson, Ian Eagle and Brett Haber will be call matches as will Mary Carillo. On the analysis will be John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Lindsay Davenport, Justin Gimblestob and Rennae Stubbs. Bill Macatee will be the host during live action as well as French Open Tonight which airs nightly at 7 p.m. ET.
Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim will be the insider for Tennis Channel’s coverage.
For the first six days of the tournament, Tennis Channel will hit the air at 10 a.m. ET and lasting until the final match is concluded. During the first weekend of play, Tennis Channel will be on all morning starting at 5 ET and going until NBC starts its coverage.
Then in the second week, Tennis Channel’s coverage will be on Monday (June 4), Tuesday (June 5) and Friday (June 8).
We have Tennis Channel’s plans for you.
McEnroe, Navratilova, Davenport, Carillo, Macatee, Robinson, Eagle, Haber, and Others Headed to Paris for Network
More than 250 Hours of Overall Tournament Coverage to Run from May 27-June 10, with 59 Live-Match Hours, 36 First-Run Hours of French Open Tonight and 12 Hours of Daily French Tennis Federation Highlights
At Least 300 Live-Match Hours Available for Free on www.tennischannel.com
LOS ANGELES, May 21, 2012 -Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle, will offer close to 60 hours of live matches and more than 140 match hours overall during its sixth year of French Open coverage, from Sunday, May 27, to Sunday, June 10. The network will air almost two dozen hours of encore men’s and women’s singles semifinal and championship telecasts as part of a programming format that will see the channel’s 24-hour schedule almost entirely dedicated to the world’s most prestigious clay-court competition for two weeks.
A typical day’s French Open schedule on Tennis Channel this year will feature live matches from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. ET, followed by four hours of encore coverage of the tournament’s best competitions, regardless of whether they first ran on Tennis Channel or broadcast partners NBC or ESPN2 (a complete schedule follows, below). At 7 p.m. ET French Open Tonight, hosted by Bill Macatee, will showcase three hours of interviews, analysis, highlights, encore match segments and special reports, set on a stage above the tournament’s central Musketeer Plaza. In all, Tennis Channel will air 36 first-run hours of the nightly prime-time show (with 114 hours overall). Following two consecutive French Open Tonight encores, at 4 a.m. ET daily tournament highlights of the French Tennis Federation (the governing body of the event) will run for an hour before a new day of coverage runs on ESPN2 from 5 a.m.-10 a.m.
Tennis Channel and ESPN2 have worked together since 2007 to bring viewers virtually non-stop, 24-hour coverage of the French Open. Each network cross-promotes the other’s schedule while using its own on-air talent, with Tennis Channel producing all telecasts for both channels.
As it has done since its first year of French Open coverage in 2007, Tennis Channel will field an all-star team of on-air talent this year in Paris, with Hall of Famers John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova taking the helm as lead analysts for the sixth consecutive year. The lineup also features Grand Slam-champion Lindsay Davenport and sportscaster Mary Carillo who, through her heartfelt special reports for numerous networks and refreshingly candid demeanor, is one of America’s most popular television sports presences today.
“It’s always great to get back to Paris with John, Mary, Bill, Lindsay and the rest of the Tennis Channel team,” said Navratilova. “It will be interesting to see if the two thirty-somethings – Roger Federer and Serena Williams – will be able to stay the in-form players and win on what is their least favorite and favorable surface.”
Household television-sports names Ted Robinson, Ian Eagle and Brett Haber will handle play-by-play responsibilities during Tennis Channel’s 2012 French Open coverage, with assists from analysts and former players Justin Gimelstob and Rennae Stubbs. Sports Illustrated‘s voice of tennis Jon Wertheim will add his expert opinion throughout the two-week event, while Tennis Channel Court Report host Cari Champion will maintain increasingly expanding social media duties. Macatee, as host of French Open Tonight, will once again interview the players, coaches, industry executives and others who will write the storylines at this year’s tournament.
This year during the French Open more than 300 hours of live matches will be available for free on Tennis Channel’s Web site, www.tennischannel.com, an increase of more than 100 hours over 2011. Also new, online streaming will run from 5 a.m. ET through the end of the day’s play, marking the first time broadband matches will be available live regardless of whether or not Tennis Channel’s television-coverage window is taking place. Viewers can access up to five courts at the same time during live windows the first week of the tournament and then view on-demand archived matches after play has stopped each evening. The site will also feature daily highlights, interviews, features and segments from French Open Tonight, along with real-time scoring, interactive tournament draws, sweepstakes information, photos and the network’s “Racquet Bracket” tournament prediction game. Digital offerings also include regular updates from veteran tennis reporters Steve Flink, Joel Drucker and Matt Cronin, in addition to posts from tennis blogger Erwin Ong.
Tennis Channel’s Live 2012 French Open Match Schedule
(Men’s/Women’s Singles Unless Otherwise Specified)
Date Time (ET) Event
Sunday, May 27 10 a.m.-3 p.m. First-Round Action
Monday, May 28 10 a.m.-3 p.m. First-Round Action
Tuesday, May 29 10 a.m.-3 p.m. First-Round Action
Wednesday, May 30 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Second-Round Action
Thursday, May 31 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Second-Round Action
Friday, June 1 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Third-Round Action
Saturday, June 2 5 a.m.-Noon Third-Round Action
Sunday, June 3 5 a.m.-1 p.m. Round-of-16 Action
Monday, June 4 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Round-of-16 Action
Tuesday, June 5 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Quarterfinals
Friday, June 8 7 a.m.-11 a.m. Men’s Semifinal
Tennis Channel will also offer same-day replays of singles quarterfinal and semifinal matches, and encore coverage of the men’s and women’s championships after the close of play on the final Sunday (ET):
Wednesday, June 6 – 1 p.m.-7 p.m.: men’s and women’s singles quarterfinals
Thursday, June 7 – 1 p.m.-7 p.m.: women’s singles semifinals
Friday, June 8 – 5 p.m.-midnight: men’s semifinals
Sunday, June 10 – 2 p.m.-6 p.m. and 8 p.m.-midnight: men’s final; 6 p.m.-8 p.m.: women’s final
Tennis Channel’s French Open Tonight Schedule
French Open Tonight airs Sunday, May 27-Thursday, June 7. Most nights the program airs from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. (all times ET), and is repeated twice upon conclusion, from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. and 1 a.m.-4 a.m. There are two exceptions during the tournament’s middle weekend. Saturday, June 2, French Open Tonight will first run from 3 p.m.-6 p.m., followed by three-straight encores: 6 p.m.-9 p.m., 9 p.m.-midnight, 12 a.m.-3 a.m. The schedule on Sunday, June 3, is similar but begins one hour later, with a 4 p.m.-7 p.m. premiere, and 7 p.m.-10 p.m., 10 p.m.-1 a.m. and 1 a.m.-4 a.m. repeats.
That will do it.
Starting Sunday, the second Grand Slam tournament on the Tennis calendar begins in Paris. Officially known as “Les internationaux de France de Roland-Garros”, the French Open will go for two weeks. ESPN2 will have live tennis action for the first 6 days of the tournament starting at 5 a.m. ET and will last until 10 a.m. ET. During the second week, ESPN2′s start time will differ as the network has live coverage of the Round of 16 through to the Women’s Semifinals. For the previous four years, ESPN2 had begun its coverage at noon ET and went until 5 p.m. or until the conclusion of its matches.
Now as ESPN2 and Tennis Channel enter a new phase of joint Grand Slam coverage, ESPN2 which is the secondary rightsholder for this tournament will kick off the day with Tennis Channel picking things up from 10 a.m. ET until the conclusion.
Chris Fowler and Chris McKendry will share host duties. Fowler will be the main announcer as well. Chris Evert, Patrick McEnroe, Darren “Killer” Cahill, Brad Gilbert, Mary Joe Fernandez and Pam Shriver will all be on hand for ESPN2. Cliff Drysdale will skip Roland Garros and will be back for Wimbledon.
We have ESPN’s schedule of coverage.
Djoker-Slam for Novak? Are Azarenka, Serena & Maria a New Big Three?
Action on ESPN2 HD & ESPN3 Starts Sunday, May 27; Women’s Semis Live June 7
The best tennis players in the world are headed for a collision on the red clay of Paris: Roland Garros, the 2012 French Open starting on ESPN2 HD and ESPN3 on Sunday, May 27. ESPN2’s new schedule of live action every day – starting at 5 a.m. ET most days – continues weekdays through Thursday, June 7, culminating with the women’s semifinals. ESPN3 will provide up to seven screens of action on the days ESPN2 is on the air, totaling 320 hours.
Chris Evert, who won the French Open a record seven times among her 18 Major singles championships, will work the event for ESPN for the first time. She joined the ESPN tennis team at last year’s Wimbledon.
Both sides of the draw present intriguing storylines, as challengers to the “trivalry” of Djokovic/Federer/Nadal (winners of 27 of the last 28 Majors) seem to be closing and the previously wide-open women’s field seems to be coalescing around a new “Big Three.”
Defending and six-time champ Rafael Nadal is ranked No. 2, after beating top-seeded Novak Djokovic in the finals in Rome on May 21. The Serb has won the last three Majors and is seeking a historic “Djoker Slam,” but has never reached the final in Paris. Roger Federer, a finalist a year ago, has the best record on the tour since the US Open. After that, No. 4 Andy Murray had a career-best semifinal appearance last year and a slew of contenders are threatening to break up the Fab Four – local favorites Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Janko Tipsarevic, Juan Martin Del Potro and 6-9 American John Isner who recently cracked the Top 10 in rankings for the first time.
On the women’s side, Victoria Azarenka, who recently ascended to the world’s top ranking, enters Paris off a tremendous early season including an Australian Open title but also recent losses to Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams. The trio seems to have separated themselves from the field in creating a new triumvirate at the top of the women’s game. No. 2 Sharapova, the Aussie runnerup and winner last week in Rome, would love a French title to complete a career Grand Slam, and Williams, the 2002 champion, is playing far better than her No. 5 ranking. In addition, the field includes four other former champions (Ana Ivanovic, Li Na, Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova) plus Venus Williams continues her comeback and enters her first Major since her sudden withdrawal from the US Open.
After the opening day, ESPN2’s schedule will continue with an all-live telecast starting at 5 a.m. each day through Friday, June 1 and again on Monday, June 4. The network will air live quarterfinal action Tuesday, June 5, at 1 p.m. and Wednesday, June 6 at 8 a.m. ESPN2 will air the women’s semifinals live Thursday, June 7 at 8 a.m. All the action on ESPN2 is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app.
Chris Fowler and Chris McKendry will again share host duties on ESPN2, with Fowler also calling matches. They will be joined by Evert, along with returnees Darren Cahill, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver. Cliff Drysdale will rejoin the team next month for ESPN’s first-ever exclusive start-to-finish coverage of Wimbledon.
For the sixth consecutive year, ESPN2 is working with Tennis Channel to bring viewers an almost around-the-clock tournament experience, with each channel cross-promoting the other’s schedule. Tennis Channel will produce all coverage for both channels, with each making use of its own on-air team.
ESPN3’s French Open schedule totals 328 hours with a multi-screen offering of up to seven courts and ESPN2’s coverage and is available on the days the network is televising. ESPN3 will begin each day early in the morning with the first ball in the air and continue to the last shot of the day. Matches will also be available after they take place via replay. Additionally, ESPNPlay in Latin America and the Caribbean will provide customers with extensive live coverage with multiple windows totaling over 500 hours in both English and Spanish on broadband platforms in addition to televised coverage throughout the regions.
ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a 24/7 destination that delivers thousands of global sports events annually and