ESPN Sees Success From Wimbledon

ESPN reported today that its coverage of Wimbledon proved to be a viewership success.  From ESPN PR:



Wimbledon Provides Thrills, History & Two of ESPN’s Largest Tennis Audiences
Murray’s Triumph — ESPN’s Second Biggest Tennis Audience Ever
WatchESPN App Usage Nearly Quadruples

The 2013 fortnight of The Championships, Wimbledon thrilled tennis fans with surprises and an historic ending and it provided two of ESPN’s biggest five audiences for tennis in its 33+ years.  In addition, the WatchESPN app saw its usage rise for the event by nearly four-fold.

The Gentlemen’s Championship saw No. 2 Andy Murray of Scotland end Great Britain’s 77-year drought, in a straight-sets triumph over No. 1 Novak Djokovic. ESPN’s telecast drew a 1.7 Fast National US rating, according to Nielsen.  That represents an average of 1,894,000 homes and 2,456,000 viewers (P2+), the second largest audience in ESPN tennis history, behind only last year’s Gentlemen’s Championship (2,876,000 households and 3,925,000 viewers).  The rating for Sunday’s final peaked at a 2.8 for the final 30 minutes of the telecast (12-12:30 p.m. ET).  Last year’s four-set match between Roger Federer and Murray peaked at 4.1 for the half hour starting at 1 p.m.  The match ended at 2:15 p.m.

In addition, Saturday’s telecast of the Ladies’ Championship – No. 15 Marion Bartoli winning her first major title over No. 23 Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 6-4 – plus the Gentlemen’s Doubles Championship – American’s Bob and Mike Bryan winning their 15th major and third in a row – drew a 0.9 US rating for the five-hour telecast.  The average audience of 1,061,000 homes and 1,302,000 viewers is the fifth best in ESPN tennis history.  ESPN’s biggest five tennis audiences are all from the last two Wimbledon events:

Date Event (all Wimbledon) HH imps US Rating
Sun, July 8, 2012 Gentlemen’s Championship 2,876,000 2.5
Sun, July 7, 2013 Gentlemen’s Championship 1,894,000 1.7
Sat, July 7, 2012 Ladies’ ChampionshipGentlemen’s Doubles ChampionshipLadies’ Doubles Championship 1,373,000 1.2
Fri, July 6, 2012 Gentlemen’s Semifinals 1,298,000 1.1
Sat, July 6, 2013 Ladies’ ChampionshipGentlemens’ Doubles Championship 1,061,000 0.9

Wimbledon Scores on ESPN Digital Platforms

Digital consumption of ESPN content continues to grow strongly, and Wimbledon was no exception.  For WatchESPN and ESPN3, the strongest day of the tournament was Friday, July 5, logging 16 million live minutes viewed across computers, smartphones, tablets, Xbox and Apple TV.

Specifically, usage of the WatchESPN app on smartphones and tablets throughout the entire tournament was up 274 percent – nearly quadruple – in live minutes viewed.  Additionally, the average number of daily viewers nearly doubled, up 89 percent, while minutes per viewer via the app more than doubled, up 110 percent.

Across the two weeks of the tournament, ESPN.com Tennis video starts were up eight percent at 2.1 million.  Additionally, average daily traffic to the Tennis card on the ScoreCenter app during the tournament more than doubled in unique viewers (up 138 percent) and visits (up 118 percent).  Usage nearly tripled in minutes (up 195 percent) and average minute audience (up 195 percent).

ESPN’s Coverage of Wimbledon

Wimbledon 2013 begins next week and ESPN today announced its scheduled coverage.  ESPN has the U.S. rights to the entire tournament.

ESPN will present live daily marathon telecasts totaling 140 hours – plus 800 on ESPN3’s multi-screen presentation of all TV courts – will take fans from first ball to the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Championships, Saturday, July 6, and Sunday, July 7, respectively.  While ESPN will provide live coverage of the tournament, the men’s and women’s championship matches will re-air July 6th and 7th in the afternoon on ABC.

Here is a look at the talent reporting from England: Chris Fowler will call matches and serve as studio host, as will Mike Tirico while  Hannah Storm will host the Breakfast at Wimbledon programs.  They will be joined by returnees Darren Cahill, Cliff Drysdale, Chris Evert, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, John McEnroe, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver.  Tom Rinaldiwill provide reports and features and call matches as well.  LZ Granderson of ESPN.com will also serve as a studio analyst and feature reporter.

Here is the ESPN broadcast schedule of Wimbledon:

Date Time (ET) Event Network  
Mon, June 24 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN / ESPN3 – * Live
Tue, June 25 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN / ESPN3 Live
Wed, June 26 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN2 / ESPN3 Live
Thur, June 27 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN2 / ESPN3 Live
Fri, June 28 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN / ESPN3 Live
Sat, June 29 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live
  8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN / ESPN3 Live
Sun, June 30 3 – 6 p.m. Highlights of Week One ABC Tape
Mon, July 1 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Round of 16 ESPN2 / ESPN3 Live
  8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Round of 16, Centre Court ESPN / ESPN3 Live
Tue, July 2 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Ladies’ Quarterfinals ESPN2 / ESPN3 Live
  8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Ladies’ Quarterfinals,  Centre Court ESPN / ESPN3 Live
Wed, July 3 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals ESPN2 / ESPN3 Live
  8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals, Centre Court ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live
Thur, July 4 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live
  8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Ladies’ Semifinals ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live
Fri, July 5 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live
  8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Gentlemen’s Semifinals ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live
Sat, July 6 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live
  9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Ladies’ Final ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live
  3 – 6 p.m. Ladies’ Final ABC Tape
Sun, July 7 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live
  9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Final ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live
  3 – 6 p.m. Gentlemen’s Final ABC Tape

Sports Media Digest- July 3, 2012

ESPN Sees Increased Viewership for Wimbledon-  In the first year of its exclusive agreement to televise Wimbledon ESPN is reporting an eight percent increase over its household audience last year.  After six days ESPN is seeing its average household impression at 569,000 homes, while its average rating (0.5) is the same over a year ago.  ESPN is reporting an increase in ratings in the younger demographics of male 18-34 (up 13 percent),  male 18-49 (up 20 percent), and male 25-54 (up 11 percent).

NASCAR Coke Zero 400 from Daytona This Saturday on TNT–  TNT is getting set to provide live prime time coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. Turner will simulcast the race on truTV and offer what it calls Wide Open coverage, race action with no commercial interruptions.  Pre-race coverage begins at 6:30p.m. ET with  Adam Alexander and analysts Larry McReynolds and Kyle Petty. Alexander will also provide play-by-play for the race with analysts Petty and Wally Dallenbach and reporters Ralph Sheheen, Marty Snider, Matt Yocum and Chris Neville.

Colorado at Seattle this Saturday’s MLS Action on NBCSN–  The weekend’s MLS match-up on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will pit the Colorado Rapid at the Seattle Sounders FC.  Coverage begins at 11:00p.m. ET with Arlo White and Kyle Martino on the call the with  Russ Thaler hosting the pre-game, halftime and post-game segments on-site.

Boxing After Dark Returns to HBO-  HBO Sports will be presenting another edition of its Boxing After Dark cards this weekend.  Nonito Donaire will take on Jeffrey Mathebula and Kelly Pavlik will battle Will Rosinsky this Saturday night at 10:00p.m. ET.  Bob Papa, Max Kellerman and Roy Jones Jr. will be ringside for the event.

Prep Hoops Action Returns to CBS Sports Network-  The CBS Sports Network will again be the home for the adidas Grassroots Basketball events.  The action tips off July 15th at 2:00 PM, ET from Indianapolis. The action continues on Sunday, July 29  at 9:00 PM, ET with the 2012 adidas Super 64 Championship from Las Vegas, Nev. and concludes Monday, Aug. 6 with the adidas Nations third-place 8:00 PM, ET and championship games 9:30 PM, ET in Los Angeles, Calif.

ESPN’s Coverage of Wimbledon

2012 marks the first year that ESPN will have exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to Wimbledon.

The tournament begins June 25th and the network will provide 140 live hours of coverage in high definition on ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD – including three days when the two networks offer all-day “cross court coverage” (airing matches simultaneously) – plus highlights and reairs of both Finals on ABC.  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.

ESPN3 will also increase its schedule to more than 800 hours of a multi-screen offering – all available TV courts (up to nine) presented from first ball to last ball each day – which will be available along with ESPN and ESPN2’s action via the WatchESPN app.  The service will also offer matches on demand after they occur.

Chris Fowler, Hannah Storm, and Mike Tirico will serve as match announcers and studio hosts.  Analysts include John McEnroe, Darren Cahill, Cliff Drysdale, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver.  Tom Rinaldi will provide essays and features.

“This Wimbledon is the culmination of a dream we at ESPN have had for more than 10 years, to deliver every match and every key moment live as it happens to fans wherever they are,” said John Skipper, ESPN president in a press release.  “The Club entrusted the care of their wonderful event to us and we intend to fulfill their trust and present a Wimbledon that uses modern technology to serve fans across all devices while being mindful of the great history and traditions of the fortnight.”

Here is the schedule of action at Wimbledon across the ESPN Family of networks:

Date Time (ET) Event Network  
Mon, June 25 6:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN2 / ESPN3 Live
Tue, June 16 –  Thur, June 28 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN2 /ESPN3 (begins at 6:30 a.m.) Live
Fri, June 29 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN / ESPN3 Live
Sat, June 30 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live
  8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Quarterfinals ESPN / ESPN3 Live
Sun, July 1 3 – 6 p.m. Highlights of Week One ABC Tape
Mon, July 2 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Round of 16 ESPN2 / ESPN3 Live
  8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Round of 16, Centre Court ESPN / ESPN3 Live
Tue, July 3 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Ladies’ Quarterfinals ESPN2 / ESPN3 Live
  8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Ladies’ Quarterfinals, Centre Court ESPN / ESPN3 Live
Wed, July 4 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals ESPN2 / ESPN3 Live
  8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals,Centre Court ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live
Thur, July 5 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live
  8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Ladies’ Semifinals ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live
Fri, July 6 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live
  8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Gentlemen’s Semifinals ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live
Sat, July 7 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live
  9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Ladies’ Final ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live
  3 – 6 p.m. Ladies’ Final ABC Tape
Sun, July 8 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live
  9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Final ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live
  3 – 6 p.m. Gentlemen’s Final ABC Tape

ESPN to Keep Breakfast at Wimbledon Moniker

As ESPN begins its tenure as the exclusive U.S. television outlet for Wimbledon comes word that the network will keep the tradition from NBC in using the Breakfast at Wimbledon branding.

The one-hour Breakfast at Wimbledon will debut at 7 a.m. ET on “the middle Saturday” (June 30) when ESPN covers matches from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET (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 7:00 a.m. ET.  On Championship Weekend, the show will air at 8:00 a.m. ET with the Finals beginning at 9:00 a.m.  ET.

“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 in a press release.  “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.”

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.

Wimbledon begins June 25th.

Sports Media Digest- May 22, 2012

NBCSN has Game Five of Coyotes and Kings Tonight-  The L.A. Kings will have another shot at advancing to the NHL Stanley Cup Finals tonight if they can win Game Five of its Western Conference Finals series with the Phoenix Coyotes.  Dave Strader, Darren Pang and Brian Engblom will call the action beginning at 9:00p.m. ET.

ESPN 3D to Televise Final Five Days of Wimbledon-  ESPN has announced that the last five days of Wimbledon will be telecast live in 3D on ESPN 3D.  All matches from July 4th through July 8th will be competed on Centre Court and will re-air later each night at 9:00p.m. ET. Last year ESPN 3D telecast only one men’s semi-final match live, with the other semis and finals aired on tape delay.  Here is the ESPN 3D Wimbledon schedule:

Date Time (ET) Event  
Wed, July 4 8 a.m. Two Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals LIVE
  9 p.m. Two Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals Reair
Thur, July 5 8 a.m. Two Ladies’ Semifinals LIVE
  9 p.m. Two Ladies’ Semifinals Reair
Fri, July 6 8 a.m. Two Gentlemen’s Semifinals LIVE
  9 p.m. Two Gentlemen’s Semifinals Reair
Sat, July 7 9 a.m. Ladies’ Final LIVE
  9 p.m. Ladies’ Final Reair
Sun, July 8 9 a.m. Gentlemen’s Final LIVE
  9 p.m. Gentlemen’s Final Reair

ABC Sports Ready for Indy 500–  For the 48th consecutive year, ABC will televise the Indianapolis 500.  This Sunday’s race will kick-off with a one hour pre-race show at 11:00a.m. ET.  Brent Musburger will host.  80 cameras will cover the race, with many on board feeds available on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.  Marty Reid will call the race with analysis by former IndyCar driver Scott Goodyear and 1998 Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever.  Pit reporters will be Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch.

SiriusXM Radio Has Indy 500-  SiriusXM Radio will be the official satellite radio network for this Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.  SiriusXM’s raceday coverage begins at 9:00 am ET on channel 94 on XM and channel 212 on Sirius Premier, with extensive pre-race programming hosted by veteran broadcaster Jack Arute.  Some of the sport’s top drivers will be providing insight including Dario Franchitti, Will Power, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon.

Rip Hamilton Joins NBA TV GameTime Tomorrow and Thursday- NBA TV has announced that Chicago Bulls guard Richard “Rip” Hamilton will join the set of NBA TV GameTime program tomorrow and Thursday.  Hamilton will be along side host Rick Kamla and analysts Greg Anthony and Dennis Scott each night beginning at 7:30p.m.

NBC, Golf Channel Prep for Senior PGA Championship-  The NBC Sports Group plans over 12 hours of coverage of this weekend’s Senior PGA Championship. Golf Channel will air the opening rounds Thursday and Friday from Noon-3:00p.m. ET, followed by weekend coverage on NBC from 3:00-6:00 p.m. ET. Host Dave Marr III and analyst Gary Koch will anchor Golf Channel’s early round coverage, with Dan Hicks assuming play-by-play duties alongside Koch on Saturday and Sunday. They will be joined all four rounds by tower reporter Mark Rolfing, course reporters Roger Maltbie and Dottie Pepper and interviewer/essayist Jimmy Roberts.

Tennis Channel Looking for Hottest Tennis Coach-  The Tennis Channel is embarking on a summer long project looking for the best male and female tennis coach in the country.  Nominations for America’s Hottest Tennis Coach are available until June 22nd.  The winners will be unveiled in August.


Sports Media Weekly Podcast No. 62

For the second week in a row it’s just Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and I for this week’s edition of the Sports Media Weekly Podcast.

The big story of the week was the news that ESPN has secured the exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to Wimbledon.  ESPN’s deal begins next year and runs until 2023.

Ken and I discuss how NBC will handle the 2018 Winter Olympics, awarded today to Pyeongchang, South Korea.  Both Ken and I feel NBC will have an opportunity to request a time shift of some events so that the 13-hour time difference will allow for some events to be held in the evening in the United States.

We also discuss how NBA-TV appears to be staying away from airing programming that involves current NBA players now that the league has locked out the players.

We wrap up the show by analyzing ESPN’s coverage of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Monday in New York.  We also look ahead to what we both consider another meaningless event on ESPN…the ESPY’s.

ESPN Signs 12-Year Pact for Exclusive U.S. Rights to Wimbledon

ESPN and the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club have signed a 12-year agreement by which ESPN will become the exclusive live television carrier of The Championships, Wimbledon in the United States.

The agreement begins next year with ESPN across a variety of platforms.

ESPN will televise the tournament live on both ESPN and ESPN2, including the men’s and women’s semi-finals and finals.  ESPN will use ABC to telecast a three-hour program on the “middle Sunday” of the tournament.  ABC will also re-air the men’s and women’s finals on the same day at 3:00pm ET.

“We are delighted to be extending our partnership with ESPN, in a move which will consolidate our U.S. media rights under the auspices of a single partner.  said Ian Ritchie, Chief Executive of The All England Lawn Tennis Club in a press release. “This new agreement will bring increased live coverage of The Championships and ensure that the huge international audience for Wimbledon can now enjoy all the drama and colour of the Fortnight through a sustained narrative delivered with clarity, continuity and consistency across a wide range of platforms.”

“We are proud to have been a partner of The All England Club the past nine years and are thrilled to be given continuing responsibility for honoring Wimbledon’s rich tradition.” said George Bodenheimer, president, ESPN and ABC Sports. “Over the next 12 years, we’ll work closely together to move coverage of this great event forward with live coverage on television and using all the latest technologies and screens.”

A lot has been made over the years of NBC’s past practice of time shifting the airing of the semi-finals matches.  ESPN officials have said that all semi-finals matches will air live.  Good news.

ESPN Set for Full Coverage of Wimbledon

ESPN has announced its scheduled coverage of Wimbledon, beginning next Monday across multiple platforms.

ESPN2 will provide nearly 100 hours of coverage beginning with the opening matches next Monday, June 20th.  ESPN3.com will provide over 650 hours of online coverage.

Wimbledon will mark the debut of Chris Evert as an ESPN tennis analyst.  She will join Cliff Drysdale and Dick Enberg on play-by-play, and Darren Cahill, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver as analysts.

Here is the complete schedule:


Time (ET)



Mon, June 20 –Fri., June 24 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Rounds Day 1-5 Live ESPN2 &ESPN3.com
Sat, June 25 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. Early Rounds Day 6 Live ESPN2
7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Live ESPN3.com
Sun, June 26 5 – 8 p.m. Week One Highlights Taped ESPN2
Mon, June 27 7 – 10 a.m. Round of 16 Live ESPN2
1 – 6 p.m. – *7 a.m. – 4 p.m. LiveLive ESPN2ESPN3.com
Tues, June 28 7 – 10 a.m. Ladies’ Quarterfinals Live ESPN2
1 – 5 p.m. – *7 a.m. – 4 p.m. LiveLive ESPN2ESPN3.com
Wed, June 29 7 – 10 a.m. Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals Live ESPN2 &ESPN3.com
1 – 5 p.m. – * Live ESPN2 &ESPN3.com
Thur, June 30 7 a.m. – Noon7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Ladies’ Semifinal LiveLive ESPN2ESPN3.com
8 – 10 p.m. Ladies’ Semifinals Highlights Same day ESPN2
Fri, July 1 7 a.m. – Noon7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Gentlemen’s Semifinal LiveLive ESPN2ESPN3.com
Sat, July 2- Sun, July 3  

Mon, July 4

8 – 11 p.m.8 – 11 p.m..1 – 4 a.m.2 – 3 p.m.3 – 4 p.m.Midnight 

7 – 9 a.m. – #

9 a.m. – Noon – #

Noon – 3 p.m. – #

3 – 6 p.m. – #

6 – 8 p.m. – #

8 – 11 p.m. – #

Gentlemen’s Semifinals HighlightsGentlemen’s Semifinal #1Gentlemen’s Semifinal #2 SportsCenter at Wimbledon  

SportsCenter at Wimbledon

Ladies’ & Gentlemen’s Finals

Ladies’ Final

Gentlemen’s Final

Gentlemen’s Semifinal #1

Gentlemen’s Semifinal #2

Ladies’ Final

Gentlemen’s Final


ESPN Adds Evert to Wimbledon & U.S. Open Coverage

The stable of talent for tennis at ESPN continues to grow with the announcement today that 18-time grand slam tournament winner Chris Evert will join the network as an analyst for its coverage of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

“Chris Evert is an iconic figure, and with more than 100 hours on our plate at Wimbledon and the US Open, fans will benefit from Chris’ insights, experience and passion for the game,”  said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production in a prepared statement.  ‘ESPN is proud to welcome Chris to the most experienced and credible tennis team on television.”

“I am really excited about working again in tennis as an analyst. I’ve been away from TV for 10 years because my priority was raising my three boys, and now that they are older it is the right time to join the exceptional tennis team at ESPN”, said Evert. ” I have many friends there and enjoy watching their coverage so I look forward to getting back behind the microphone.”

ESPN’s coverage of Wimbledon begins Monday, June 20th.