As ESPN prepares for its new role as the exclusive home of live Wimbledon action from first ball to the finals across its networks, an iconic branding will return, Breakfast at Wimbledon. That title – which has not been in use for several years – will serve as the name of the on-site, pre-match show leading to five days when the ESPN network alone is televising matches.
The one-hour Breakfast at Wimbledon will debut at 7 a.m. ET on “the middle Saturday” (June 30) when ESPN covers matches from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or later as need be). It then returns for the final four days of the tournament, the Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Semifinals and Finals, Thursday, July 5 – Sunday, July 8. For the semifinals, Breakfast at Wimbledon will air at 7 a.m. On Championship Weekend, the show will air at 8 a.m. with the Finals beginning at 9 a.m. The show will also be seen on ESPN3, as well as WatchESPN which includes ESPN and ESPN2 online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app.
“The essence of ESPN’s approach as the new home of Wimbledon is to present the Championships as never before while remaining true to the event’s history and traditions, and the ‘Breakfast at Wimbledon’ moniker has strong brand equity with the American sports fan,” said Jason Bernstein, ESPN senior director, programming and acquisitions. “Our world-class production team has created attractive graphic treatments that marry the tradition of Wimbledon to the evolution of its brand and programming offerings such as behind-the-scenes features, insightful commentary from our talented roster of commentators, and social media elements bringing fans closer to The Championships than ever before.”
In addition to getting viewers ready with a preview of the day’s big matches, Breakfast at Wimbledon will offer the latest news, analysis and discussion, features and interviews, special guests and more from ESPN’s team of analysts.
Chris Fowler and Hannah Storm return as hosts of ESPN’s Wimbledon telecasts, with Fowler also continuing to call matches as well. Mike Tirico, the voice of Monday Night Football who has worked US Open telecasts as a host and calling matches, will join the Wimbledon team in those two roles.
ESPN & Wimbledon
ESPN will televise The Championships, Wimbledon across its networks starting Monday, June 25, with day-long marathon telecasts through to the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Finals, Saturday, July 7, and Sunday, July 8, respectively. ESPN3 will again offer its multi-screen offering of all televised courts, including a simulcast of ESPN/ESPN2 telecasts. All the action on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. The new schedule is the result of a 12-year agreement between ESPN and the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced just after the conclusion of the 2011 Championships.
ESPN – All Four Slams, All In One Place
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 in 2009, giving ESPN all four Grand Slam events, something no other U.S. network has ever done, let alone in one year. ESPN has presented the Australian Open since 1984, the French Open since 2002 (plus 1986 – 1993), and Wimbledon since 2003, with exclusivity for live television with all other rights extended added in a 12-year agreement starting this year.
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 and John McEnroe playing.
In addition, broadband network ESPN3, now in nearly 72 million homes, carries thousands of hours of tennis annually, including all four Grand Slam events, plus ATP 1000 and 500 tournaments and WTA Premier Events, and season-ending championships for both tours. Also, ESPN Classic shows great matches from the past and the sport receives extensive coverage on SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, Spanish-language ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. ESPN 3D aired its first tennis at Wimbledon in 2011.