NBC is Effing with Tennis Fans Again

I have to thank my good friend, Amanda for giving me the title of this post. NBC is currently showing the Roger Federer-Ivo Karlovic match which finished before 10 a.m. ESPN2 was not allowed to show this match. And it joined the Tommy Haas-Novak Djokovic match in progress, but not after showing the Williams sisters in doubles and James Blake in a doubles match as well.

This was quite maddening to tennis fans who wanted to see the Federer match which he won easily in three sets, 6-3, 7-5 and 7-6 (7-3). Yes, I’m spoiling the results because this is what NBC deserves for short changing fans once again. And not only is NBC showing it on tape delay at 10 a.m. in the East, it’s going to do it at 10 a.m. in all time zones so by the time the West Coast sees the match, it will have been more than three hours old.

And while NBC is preventing ESPN2 from showing certain matches as it calls exclusivity not only today, but for the rest of the week, it is streaming matches from Centre Court and Court No. 1 live on NBCSports.com. So while the network is screwing with viewers on TV, it’s saying, “Come over to our website and watch the match on a small player.” It’s not the same as watching it live on your TV whether it be in sparkling clear high definition or in old school standard def.

We’re in the age of the internet and also in an era where fans (like me) can find the BBC’s coverage on backdoor websites and circumvent any ratings NBC might get for its taped delayed coverage.

This is a disservice to fans and an insult to their intelligence. Fans want to see matches live, they don’t want to be stuck with tape knowing they can find the results elsewhere.

Ok, NBC doesn’t want to blow away the Today Show and any profits it gets from the show. I get that. Here’s a solution. Put a live match on an affiliate’s secondary channel. In this age of High Definition television, over the air stations have secondary channels. Put a match there so fans can watch it. In addition, allow ESPN2 to show a match live in its entirety even if it goes past the 10 a.m. start time for NBC. Then if the main NBC network wants to show a tape delayed match at 10 a.m. in all time zones, it can do so, but continue live coverage on the secondary channel. That way, you won’t have people across the country complaining about tape delayed matches and it won’t short change the fans.

Until NBC finds a solution to this, fans in the U.S. will get stuck with insulting taped matches. I pledge to you that if this happens again next year, I will reveal the websites and ways you can watch the BBC live. I won’t do it this year because I do not want to promote piracy, but I will next year if this situation does not improve.

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.