Wimbledon on ESPN2 in HD for First Time; Double the Hours on ESPN360.com
Federer Seeks Revenge & a Record 15th Grand Slam Title; Venus’ Fifth Defense
London is a city known for great theatre and beginning Monday, June 22, two five-time Wimbledon champs – Roger Federer and Venus Williams – will take center stage as ESPN2 and ESPN360.com combine to provide the most extensive daily coverage ever of Wimbledon: The Championships from the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club. ESPN2 will air nearly 100 hours of action, highlighted by one Ladies’ and one Gentlemen’s semifinal, Thursday, July 2, and Friday, July 3, respectively. For the first time, the action will be produced in high definition and presented in ESPN2 HD’s 720p format. Also, under the terms of a new agreement announced last month, ESPN360.com will more than double its hours of live broadband coverage to nearly 650 and will offer the Finals on replay.
In addition, ESPN.com and ESPNdeportes.com will carry expanded highlights packages and ESPN Mobile TV will offer live streaming of 80 hours of action, an increase of nearly 60 percent. In addition, Wimbledon content will be found on ESPN Deportes, ESPN Classic with a 13-hour marathon of matches the day before the 2009 tournament begins, ESPN Interactive Television and ESPN International.
ESPN2 will begin day-long live programming when the first ball goes into the air Monday, June 22, and continue daily through Sunday, July 5, with a recap of the Gentlemen’s final. ESPN2 will present at least 95 hours, with four additional hours on ESPN (see note below). Each weekday, ESPN2’s live coverage will begin at 7 a.m. ET, with:
- extensive live coverage of matches, including all-day coverage the first week;
- one Ladies’ and one Gentlemen’s semifinal (July 2 and 3, respectively);
- plus a one-hour SportsCenter at Wimbledon aired immediately following NBC’s coverage of the Ladies’ (Saturday, July 4 at 2 p.m.) and Gentlemen’s (Sunday, July 5 at 3 p.m.) championships.
- Two of the three evening highlights shows – a review of week one Sunday, June 28, and a review of the Ladies’ semifinals July 2 – will air on ESPN, resulting in a scheduled total of 99 hours.
- On June 29 – July 1, ESPN2 will provide alternate programming in the Pacific Time Zone from 1 – 4 p.m. ET (10 a.m. – 1 p.m. PT).
- ESPN’s live match coverage will be supplemented by Tennis Channel’s evening program, with highlights, interviews and features Monday, June 22 – Wed., July 1, from 7 – 11 p.m.
ESPN2’s Commentator Lineup
Dick Enberg will work his 26th Wimbledon to call matches, 30 years removed from his first, the first live broadcast of the Gentlemen’s final. He will share the duty with Cliff Drysdale – the two-time Wimbledon semifinalist who has been with ESPN since its first tennis telecast nearly 30 years ago, September 14, 1979. Chris Fowler, ESPN’s studio host for Grand Slam tennis since 2003, will share host duties with Suzy Kolber and he will also call select matches. They will team with analysts Darren Cahill, Mary Carillo, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver, plus Hall of Fame tennis journalist Bud Collins. Shriver will frequently be utilized as a roving reporter covering play in “outer courts” and as a sideline reporter.
Did You Know?
As of this Wimbledon, ESPN’s Bud Collins, Cliff Drysdale and Dick Enberg have worked — or, in Drysdale’s case, played — in 295 Grand Slam events.
Surveying the Fields
Federer, who this month won his first French Open to complete a career Grand Slam, was the Wimbledon champ five consecutive years (2003-07) and will be seeking to break Pete Sampras’ record with his 15th Grand Slam title. To do so, he may need to exact revenge against Rafael Nadal, who last year broke Federer’s streak on the famed grass of Centre Court – which now features a retractable roof allowing for play during London’s frequent inclement weather. Their legendary match in the 2008 final is currently available on ESPN360.com and will be reaired on ESPN Classic on Sunday, June 21 at 6 p.m. as part of a 13-hour marathon of great Wimbledon matches. (See details below.)
On the woman’s side, Venus Williams, ranked #3 in the world, will defend the championship for the fifth time against a field led by recent French Open champ #5 Svetlana Kuznetsova, #1 Dinara Safina and #2 Serena Williams, who took the Wimbledon crown in 2002 and ’03.
The Analysts Look Ahead….Fernandez: “Williams Sisters the Favorites”…Cahill: “Three Storylines”
“The men’s game is healthier – and more interesting – than any time in the last 30 years. To me, there are three storylines entering Wimbledon – Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, of course, and Andy Murray. Paris was a major building block in his career, and he’s ready to make a breakthrough, especially after winning the Queen’s Club on grass Sunday. Wimbledon could be his first Grand Slam victory. Every part of his game is improved. Roger’s chances are enhanced after winning the French Open. He won’t relax because he’s won the career Grand Slam. Wimbledon is the tournament most special to him and he’ll be fired up. As for Nadal, the question mark is his fitness and the health of his knees. But those are issues he’s managed for years and has always made the right decisions. Grass is tougher on the knees than clay – it’s uneven and if you try to slide your feet may stick – so maybe skipping the Queen’s Club will help him recover after his busy spring. Beyond that trio, Andy Roddick is in the best shape I’ve seen him for three years. He’s moving better and playing a positive, attack style of tennis. I also will be surprised if Novak Djokovic doesn’t make a good run.”
Mary Joe Fernandez:
“Like the last few years, the Williams sisters are the favorites. Venus especially has proven herself at Wimbledon, with her footwork, movement and willingness to come forward. For some reason, she steps on those grounds and becomes a dominant force. Despite her last match, Maria Sharapova played well at the French Open after her long layoff and could go deep into the tournament. In addition, grass is her favorite surface. Of course, Svetlana Kuznetsova comes to London with a lot of confidence. She can serve and volley and has a good variety of shots on grass. Overall, at Wimbledon you look for big hitters to do well. There is solid footing, which is what they like. It plays like a hard court, at least a lot more than when I played there. Therefore, others who can cause trouble are Victoria Azarenka, top-ranked Dinara Safina and for a real dark horse, watch Sorana Cirstea who defeated Jelena Jankovic to reach the quarterfinals in Paris.”
More Wimbledon from ESPN, Inc.
ESPN360.com, the company’s signature live sports broadband network, is currently offering a replay of the classic 2008 Gentlemen’s Final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, and will deliver live coverage of up to nine, courts throughout the early rounds. The total comes to nearly 650 hours of live coverage between opening day and the semifinals – more than double the total hours delivered last year. ESPN360.com will also simulcast ESPN2’s nearly 100 hours of coverage and will have the Wimbledon Finals events on-demand the morning following competition. Other digital offerings:
- Wimbledon Central: ESPN.com will again feature Wimbledon Central, a dynamic content application that will feature the official live scoring for all matches throughout the tournament. Additionally, Wimbledon Central will be available for the first time on the ESPN Mobile Web site.
- ESPN Mobile Web and ESPN MVP: Fans will again be able to follow all the action throughout the championship via ESPN’s industry leading mobile Web site and through the signature ESPN MVP application on Verizon wireless.
- Wimbledon Archives: in the days leading up to Wimbledon past Wimbledon matches (full and condensed) will be available on-demand through ESPN.com and ESPN360.com.
ESPN360.com is ESPN’s live sports broadband network, giving fans a 24/7 online destination that delivers more than 3,200 live, global sports events annually. It is available at no cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated service provider. ESPN360.com is currently available in nearly 25 million homes nationwide (and soon to add more than 15 million Comcast households nationwide, making it available in nearly 41 million households – a majority of US broadband homes). It is available via dozens of Internet Service Providers nationwide, including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast (August 2009), RCN, Insight, Frontier, Cavalier, Charter, Mediacom, Conway, Grande Communications and many more. It is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks (those with “.edu” and “.mil” domains).
ESPN Interactive TV will be enjoyed exclusively on DIRECTV. During the ESPN2 telecast windows the first six days of competition, a six-screen mosaic will include the ESPN2 feed and feeds from five individual courts. Production will be enhanced with press conferences, interviews and features elements that will be added during court changeovers and between matches. All six screens can be expanded to full screen mode or picture-in-picture at the touch of the remote button. In addition, DIRECTV will offer “Matches On Now,” a graphic across the bottom of the screen with scores from each of the matches currently on the court channels, with the ability to tune directly to the match, and “Results,” an instant look at real-time scores and schedule info for matches ahead – all without leaving the match the viewer is watching. In total, ESPN will provide more than 300 hours of coverage that is exclusive to interactive TV.
ESPN International will reach 30 million viewers outside the U.S. and has increased its programming to 70+ live hours pan-regionally in Latin America on ESPN Latin America and ESPN Latin America/Caribbean, in addition to daily primetime highlight programs. ESPN+ in the Southern Cone and ESPN Dos in the Northern Cone will supplement the coverage on ESPN Latin America with an additional 48 + hours of live tennis (more than doubled last year’s coverage). In addition, ESPN 360.com in Mexico and Chile will air 620 hours of live coverage, more than double last year’s coverage in Mexico and a new offering in Chile.
ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s Spanish-language network in the U.S. will offer 48 hours from Wimbledon, highlighted by daily coverage through the semifinals. Luis Alfredo Alvarez will handle play-by-play with former tennis player Javier Frana as analyst. ESPN Deportes will feature a distinct production, focusing on Latino stars as well as the top-ranked players. There will also be extensive reporting from Wimbledon ESPN Deportes’ SportsCenter.
ESPN Classic’s Wimbledon Tribute – June 21
ESPN Classic will present a 13-hour Wimbledon Tribute on Sunday, June 21, starting at 10 a.m., featuring some of the greatest players in tennis history facing off in five classic finals matches. The day of thrillers will culminate with what many consider the greatest Wimbledon Final – or maybe even the best tennis match – ever: last year’s five-set battle with Rafael Nadal dethroning five-time champ Roger Federer.
ESPN – Your Home for Grand Slam Tennis
Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air and provided many memorable moments, but it has never been as important as today, with the US Open joining the lineup, giving ESPN all four Grand Slam events, something no other network has ever done.
ESPN debuted September 7, 1979, and the first tennis telecast was exactly one week later, September 14, a Davis Cup tie, Argentina at U.S. from Memphis with Cliff Drysdale on the call.
|Monday, June 22||7 a.m. – 5 p.m.||Early Round Day 1||Live||ESPN2 / ESPN2 HD|
|Tuesday, June 23||7 a.m. – 5 p.m.||Early Round Day 2||Live||ESPN2 / ESPN2 HD|
|Wednesday, June 24||7 a.m. – 5 p.m.||Early Round Day 3||Live||ESPN2 / ESPN2 HD|
|Thursday, June 25||7 a.m. – 5 p.m.||Early Round Day 4||Live||ESPN2 / ESPN2 HD|
|Friday, June 26||7 a.m. – 5 p.m.||Early Round Day 5||Live||ESPN2 / ESPN2 HD|
|Saturday, June 27||8 a.m. – 3 p.m.||Early Round Day 6||Live||ESPN2 / ESPN2 HD|
|Sunday, June 28||4 – 6 p.m.||Week One Highlights||Taped||ESPN / ESPN HD|
|Monday, June 29||7 – 10 a.m.||Round of 16||Live||ESPN2 / ESPN2 HD|
|1 – 7 p.m. – *||Round of 16||Live||ESPN2 / ESPN2 HD|
|Tuesday, June 30||7 – 10 a.m.||Ladies’ Quarterfinals||Live||ESPN2 / ESPN2 HD|
|1 – 5 p.m. – *||Ladies’ Quarterfinals||Live||ESPN2 / ESPN2 HD|
|Wednesday, July 1||7 – 10 a.m.||Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals||Live||ESPN2 / ESPN2 HD|
|1 – 5 p.m. – *||Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals||Live||ESPN2 / ESPN2 HD|
|Thursday, July 2||7 a.m. – Noon||Ladies’ Semifinal||Live||ESPN2 / ESPN2 HD|
|8 – 10 p.m.||Ladies Semifinals Highlights||Same day||ESPN / ESPN HD|
|Friday, July 3||7 – Noon||Gentlemen’s Semifinal||Live||EPSN2 / ESPN2 HD|
|8 – 11 p.m.||Gentlemen’s Semifinal Highlights||Same day||ESPN2 / ESPN2 HD|
|Saturday, July 4||2 – 3 p.m.||SportsCenter at Wimbledon||Live||ESPN2 / ESPN2 HD|
|Sunday, July 5||3 – 4 p.m.||SportsCenter at Wimbledon||Live||ESPN2 / ESPN2 HD|