OK, I know that there are hundreds of tennis blogs around, but this one is going to be very different. This one is about waking up the powers that be to the fact that there is absolutely no tennis on tv.
I am an avid tennis watcher. I play the game. I log on to message boards and post my opinions. I pose questions to question and answer forums and a lot of people know me because of my writing on other people's blogs. However, one thing that struck me recently was how many fans in the United States and other parts of North America (Canada) as well as those of us in the Caribbean (where I am from) who rely on North American networks for our daily tennis fix, are unable to watch matches. Separate and apart from calling out the powers that be for their lack of coverage, I will be offering suggestions as to how we can get tennis to the fans.
First of all, we are now in the season called the USO Series. That is the US Open Series. This is supposed to be a slew of tournaments which starts the North American hardcourt swing and ends at the US Open. The Series starts with a women' s event at Stanford called the Bank of the West Classic, then went to LA and then onwards to Cincinnatti, then Toronto, New Haven and finally New York. The men's events started in LA, moved on to Washington, D.C., then to Montreal, Cincinnatti, New Haven and finally ends in New York.
Now you would think that with all these tournaments all over North America folks would finally get to see some tennis. That would be too easy. The only tennis we saw were selected matches from the quarter finals onwards of all tournaments played to date. In addition, unless the players were American, or Sharapova, then you never got a chance to see other players. Anyway, for tennis fans, they will watch 2 dogs playing tennis to no tennis at all.
Today, 10 August is the start of a Masters Series event for the men in Montreal and a Mandatory event in Cincinnatti for the women. Lo and behold, the only tennis you get to see is via live streams, a phenomenom that I will address later in this post.
It is absolutely ridiculous that we have Tennis Channel, ESPN (along with every variation thereof) and we still cannot get tennis on tvs in North America. The Tennis Channel was recently inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame for its contribution to the growth of tennis. I am not sure that that induction was worthy as recently all we have seen are repeats of Murphy's Guide and Mika jetting around on Destination Tennis. These days Tennis Channel advertises itself as the Grand Slam network, but the only grand slams you see are Grand Slams from the 70s. Prior to whatever contractual considerations between Tennis Channel and their broadcast partners, the coverage of the Grand Slams was second to none. These days, for those of us who actually have jobs and who look forward to seeing repeats of matches played in the day, you will be out of luck these days, as it would seem that if the match was not shown on Tennis Channel, then they apparently cannot show a repeat.
Live Streams - I visit many blogs on the internet. One of the requests that you hear on every single blog devoted to tennis, and this is coming from folks in North America, the Caribbean and many other countries is this "anyone have a link?". Now I am a Dish Network subscriber in the Caribbean. I installed a second dish just to be able to get 1 single channel, the Tennis Channel. Imagine my dismay now when I hardly get to see any tennis on my HDTV or really enjoy tennis as hardly any tennis is on the tv.
Now, I am not about laying blame without making suggestions. Is it possible that CBS, NBC, ESPN and Tennis Channel could come together and have a highlight show during tournament play. Clearly, there is some form of financial consideration which prevents Tennis Channel from providing round the clock coverage of events that are being played. In this time of cut backs, I can understand that. However, what I cannot understand is why is it that there are countries in Europe who are able to see the current Masters Series event in Montreal on their tv, as well as coverage of Cincinnatti and people in the United States are unable to see it. This is after all the USO Series. We are told that every single time that the powers that be decide to show a match. If only we fans could see it then we would not think it is a figment of our imaginations.