When ESPN kicks off its Wimbledon coverage Monday, June 25, viewers will find it everywhere. The net will expand live footage to 140 hours with marathon telecasts on ESPN and ESPN2, while ESPN3 will increase its schedule to more than 800 hours of a multi-screen offering, showing all available TV courts from first ball to last ball each day.
Cliff Drysdale, who will call the tournament along with John McEnroe, Chris Evert, Darren Cahill and others, was there for ESPN’s first tennis match back in ’79. “In those days, people wondered whether you could take 24-hour sports on television and what a crazy idea it was,” he said during a conference call with reporters Wed. “There were those who thought it wasn’t going to last, and that it was going to be broadcast networks forever. In these years, since the beginning of ESPN, obviously a lot has changed.”
And change they have, with TV Everywhere authentication service WatchESPN also offering Wimbledon action. Then there is 3D. ESPN 3D will televise five days of action live from Centre Court. Coverage will begin with the Gentlemen’s quarterfinals Wednesday, July 4 and continue through the finals. Telecasts will air again each night at 9 p.m.
“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,” said ESPN President John Skipper.
As for the men’s field, is there hope that anyone besides Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic will win? McEnroe suggested Britain’s Andy Murray might have a shot, adding that the fact he’s been unable to break through the trio “just shows you how great they are.” Rivalries like Nadal-Federer-Djokovic are good for the game, the tennis Hall of Famer added. And ESPN’s hoping they’ll be good for the ratings.
ESPN’s Wimbledon schedule and more: http://espn.go.com/tennis/