NBC Continues to Eff With Us

On the 4th of July holiday where many of you have today off, I know a lot were looking forward to seeing the Wimbledon men’s semifinals today. Now the first semi got off without a hitch with ESPN2 carrying the Roger Federer-Tommy Haas match live at 8 a.m. ET which Federer swept in three sets.

About 20 minutes after Federer won his semifinal, the Andy Roddick-Andy Murray match began. However, you did not see that live on ESPN2. The network was forced to show last year’s Federer-Nadal Wimbledon final. I’m sure you all wanted to relive that on a day where there was live tennis ongoing. And NBC delayed “Andymonium” so it could air the match at noon in all time zones.

When NBC signed on at noon Eastern time, it was at the beginning of the match, while the BBC and other rightsholders around the world were showing it live in real time. When NBC started showing the match, Roddick and Murray had already won one set apiece and were well into the 3rd set.

I went over this on Wednesday when NBC chose to air the completed Roger Federer-Ivo Karlovic match over any possible live matches because it did not want to blow away the Today Show.

On Twitter, people were again sending their vitriol towards NBC and its mishandling of Wimbledon. It has sent fans scrambling to backdoor sites to see the match because they don’t want to be treated like little children being told when they can see the match instead of being provided the match as it happens.

One person tweeted, “That explains why NBC is 2 hrs late on delivery of Roddick-Murray, USPS is the telecast sponsor.”

Another said, “i heart Ustream…” Ustream is one of the backdoor sites that is providing a live online stream of the match. I’m sure you can find the others.

One more stated, “Lots of posts about where to watch Roddick live online…the new reality of our world, fascinating…

It shows you that in this day and age of the internet, people want things now. Three hours, no one hour is old, especially when people can read Tweets or go to live blogs to read the results. And NBC’s decision to hold matches for later viewing is not only a slap in the face to hardcore tennis fans, it’s casual fans from getting interested in tennis.

I suggested a solution that NBC could do for next year in my last diatribe and I don’t need to repeat it again. But if NBC wants increased ratings and profits from Wimbledon, it had better scrap the tape and start showing matches live otherwise there will be an even bigger backlash next year.

Ken Fang

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.